Bangsal Merah Boepati (The Red Chamber of The Regents) at Hotel Tugu Malang

This Chamber tells a part of East Java’s history between mid 18th century and end of 20th century.

In the past, the city of Surabaya was divided into 2 cities: Kanoman and Kasepoehan, each ruled by a regent chosen by the Dutch Colonial government. Both regents had their office and residency near each other: one is now the big post office, and the other is now East Java’s Governor’s Office.

Both regents are siblings, from the line of Kyai Brondong, the first regent of Surabaya. The two regencies of Surabaya were not in peace with each other and several wars occurred, one of which caused the two regents’ sister, Nyai Roro Kinjeng, to escape to a jung (ship) owned by Tjoa Kwie Soe, a very wealthy Chinese merchant who relocated from China during this Qing dynasty. These two descendants of royal families of different ethnicities & different religions fell in love, got married and initiated the Tjoa dynasty in Indonesia, one of the most prominent Peranakan dynasties in Indonesia.

One of the Tjoa’s descendants around the end of 19th century received the Lieutenant title from the Dutch colonial government as well as the title Honorary Doctorate, the only Peranakan Chinese who had ever received that title and the Robe of Honor from the Qing Emperor.

Another of the regents’ descendants – who also held the position of Surabaya’s Regent, Bupati Tjokronegoro, had chronicled the family tree of East Java’s Kasepoehan dynasty. His relationship with some prominent Peranakan Chinese personalities in Java, such as The Toan Eng, Tjoa Sien Hie, etc, as well as his familial relationship with his aunt Nyai Roro Kinjeng, wife of Tjoa Kwie Soe, brought substantial Peranakan Chinese art and cultural influence to his house: Javanese meets Chinese interiors, Javanese green meets Chinese red, with several rooms in Regent Tjokro Negoro’s house fully featuring the red Chinese shade of color.

Through the past couple of decades, Tugu Hotels founder collected artifacts related to the history of the Surabaya’s regents of the past centuries, and now houses them in this Bangsal Merah Boepati room (The Red Hall of the Regents). It tells the colorful stories of East Java’s regents, descendants of Kyai Brondong. In this room you can find, among others:

  1. A painting by one of the regents’ descendants (Harmonious Landscape of the Village Houses) Raden Djojo Wisastro from 1934;
  2. Painting from Raden Ata (another descendant’s nickname) of flowers on a table;
  3. Glass paintings of Hanoman the Monkey God and Rahwana the Giant;
  4. A few small paintings of the regents of Kanoman and Kasepoehan with their respective wives, parasoled by their humble palace staffs;
  5. Several artifacts from the house of past regents of Kanoman and Kasepoehan, such as a 150 years old-deer’s head from the house/office of a past East Javanese Regent;
  6. Qilin’s heads (China mythological lion head) which were ornaments of a set of old Peranakan Chinese gamelan instruments, gift from a past Bangli’s regent to a prominent Peranakan descendant in East Java.
  7. The famous symbol of Kasepoehan regency, a pair of standing lions looking to the right and left, as well as leather puppets and a red and gold 150 years old mask, a gift from the Dutch colonial government to the most successful head of the village in East Java circa 1940;
  8. An original photo of Queen Wilhelmina;
  9. A big wood and marble chair used by opium smokers;
  10. 120 years old red and green chairs from the past regent’s house;
  11. A 200 years old gamelan set from Tulung Agung, from a very wealthy Peranakan family related to the regent’s life.).
  12. A painting of Tari Serimpi by Sukirman, dated 1902.

The Bupati’s house had been used as lodging for a Balinese hero who’s thereafter exiled to Sumatra, I Gusti Ketut Jelantik. This prince was originally appointed by the Dutch to pacify the people in Buleleng, but eventually led the Balinese people’s fight against the Dutch. More of his stories are told at the Bale Sutra Temple from 1706 at the Hotel Tugu Bali on Canggu Beach.

Visit us at Hotel Tugu Malang to discover more of Bangsal Merah Boepati and the colorful traces of Javanese Peranakan culture in Indonesia.