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Mediating Netherlandish Art and Material Culture in Asia

Mediating Netherlandish Art and Material Culture in Asia

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann
Michael North
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    Mediating Netherlandish Art and Material Culture in Asia
    Book Description:

    Scholars have extensively documented the historical and socioeconomic impact of the Dutch East India Company. They have paid much less attention to the company's significant influence on Asian art and visual culture.Mediating Netherlandish Art and Material Culture in Asiaaddresses this imbalance with a wide range of contributions covering such topics as Dutch and Chinese art in colonial and indigenous households; the rise of Hollandmania in Japan; and the Dutch painters who worked at the court of the Persian shahs. Together, the contributors shed new light on seventeenth-century Dutch visual culture-and the company that spread it across Asia.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1986-6
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction Mediating Cultures
    (pp. 9-24)
    Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann and Michael North

    The Dutch East India Company (VOC) has long attracted the attention of scholarship. Its lengthy history, widespread enterprises, and the survival of massive amounts of documentation – literally 1,200 meters of essays pertaining to the VOC may be found in the National Archives in The Hague, and many more documents are scattered in archives throughout Asia and in South Africa – have stimulated many works on economic and social history.¹ Important publications have also appeared on the trade,² shipping,³ institutional organization,⁴ and administration of the VOC.⁵ Much has also been learned about the VOC and Dutch colonial societies.⁶ Moreover, the TANAP (Towards...

  2. 1 Terms of Reception Europeans and Persians and Each Other’s Art
    (pp. 25-64)
    Gary Schwartz

    “Of the 14 stations outside Batavia, Persia […] stood at the top, surpassing even Japan.”¹ The quotation is from the writings of Hendrik Dunlop, one of the pioneer researchers of the Dutch East India Company in Persia. “These pleasing dividends,” his younger colleague D. W. Davies wrote, “caused Jan Pietersz. Coen to exclaim in November 1627, ‘God grant the Company a long and peaceful trade in Persia […].’ And he was, in fact, graciously pleased to grant a continued high return. For more than a century, the Persian establishments were the most important Company posts on the mainland of Asia.”...

  3. 2 Reconfiguring the Northern European Print to Depict Sacred History at the Persian Court
    (pp. 65-82)
    Amy S. Landau

    Notions of an alternative form of artistic representation deriving fromfarang(Europe) would have formulated in Iran as early as the thirteenth century with the circulation of Western art via diplomatic and commercial channels. Not until the late seventeenth century, however, did “Europeanized” modes of Persian painting develop. At that time there was an enthusiastic welcoming offarangī-sāzī(Europeanized style),¹ especially in the Safavid capital at Isfahan, which was affectionately known to its inhabitants asIsfahan nesfi-jahānor Isfahan, half the world. There imperial painters integrated European compositions and techniques, and fused them with established pictorial conventions of Persian painting....

  4. 3 Dutch Cemeteries in South India
    (pp. 83-94)
    Martin Krieger

    While the major focus of Dutch interest in Asia lay in the Indonesian archipelago, from the outset the VOC cast a close eye on South India as well. Traditional trading in this region took place between a comparatively large number of small ports scattered along the coasts. Notwithstanding the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511 and the town’s subsequent decline, trade between South India, notably Coromandel, and Southeast Asian ports like Malacca, Aceh, Arakan, Pegu, and Tenasserim remained the mainstay of local commodity exchange still throughout the seventeenth century. The most widely traded export commodities were cotton textiles, followed by...

  5. 4 Coasts and Interiors of India Early Modern Indo-Dutch Cross-Cultural Exchanges
    (pp. 95-110)
    Ranabir Chakravarti

    The Indian Ocean has emerged as an important unit of historical study in recent decades. India has become an exciting field for research on the history of pre-modern times as the image of the subcontinent as exclusively agrarian and steeped in insularity and isolation has been contested. A newer vision of the active nonagrarian sectors of the “traditional” economy has increasingly been illuminated, albeit seen rooted in an overwhelmingly agrarian milieu. Sustained scholarly efforts have provided considerable evidence for urbanization, crafts production, and trade in early India. Economic historians roughly from the middle of the 1980s have underscored the significance...

  6. 5 Art and Material Culture in the Cape Colony and Batavia in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
    (pp. 111-128)
    Michael North

    This paper elucidates the role that objects of art played in the households of the Cape Colony and Batavia. In the history of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), the Cape and Batavia fulfilled different but interconnected functions. In taking over Batavia – the name, with its reference to the home country, was invented in 1619 to replace the name of the existing town, Jacatra – the VOC gained a long-awaited foothold for its trade in Asian spices. The harbor was easily accessible and protected from the monsoons, providing a relatively safe place for Dutch ships and Chinese junks to meet. With...

  7. 6 Indische Architecture in Indonesia
    (pp. 129-140)
    Peter J. M. Nas

    This chapter deals with Dutch architectural influence in Indonesia. Its focus is on the specificIndischearchitecture that blossomed in the nineteenth century.Indischearchitecture is contrasted with earlier buildings in Batavia as well as with the succeeding type of latter-dayIndischearchitecture in the first half of the twentieth century.

    Western and particularly Dutch architectural influence in Indonesia is considerable. Although it is sometimes said that the Dutch impact amounted to no more than “a scratch on a rock” in the field of architecture this is certainly not the case. To this very day, more than sixty years after...

  8. 7 The Cultural Dimension of the Dutch East India Company Settlements in Dutch-Period Ceylon, 1700-1800 – With Special Reference to Galle
    (pp. 141-176)
    Lodewijk Wagenaar

    Years ago, in 2007, I went with a group of students from the Postgraduate Institute for Archaeology (University of Kelanya) to a little village in the Gampaha District, about 40 kilometers from Colombo. We had traveled all the way from the capital to interview a potter whose ancestors had been traced back in Dutch documents kept in the Sri Lanka National Archives to the second half of the eighteenth century. However, I needed an interpreter: No member of the family, or anyone else in the village spoke English. After 150 years of British occupation (1796-1948) and after decades of impact...

  9. 8 European Artists in the Service of the Dutch East India Company
    (pp. 177-204)
    Marten Jan Bok

    In the spring of 1595, two weeks after the very first Dutch merchant fleet had set sail for Asia, the directors of the trading company that had sent it off, the Compagnie van Verre, held a meeting with a merchant named Dirck Gerritsz. Pomp. Pomp, also known as Dirck China, had traveled extensively in Asia while in the service of the Portuguese and was able to provide the new company with detailed information on the goods available in the Asian markets and their prices.² One of the questions put before him was whether it might be profitable for the company...

  10. 9 Scratching the Surface The Impact of the Dutch on Artistic and Material Culture in Taiwan and China
    (pp. 205-238)
    Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

    The most prominent and probably the most famous artistic representation of seventeenthcentury Netherlandish trade with the world appears on the façade of the Royal Palace on the Dam, the former Town Hall of Amsterdam. Sculpture on one pediment projects an image of Dutch success overseas, showing the products of the world being laid at the feet of a personification of Amsterdam.¹ But an interpretation of another lesser known monument in The Hague may help introduce a consideration of a different view of Dutch commercial and cultural relations. This is the ceiling of theEerste Kamerin the Binnenhof in The...

  11. 10 The Dutch Presence in Japan The VOC on Deshima and Its Impact on Japanese Culture
    (pp. 239-244)
    Matthi Forrer and Yoriko Kobayashi-Sato

    On 16 March in the fifth year of the Kēchō 慶長 period (29 April 1600 in the European calendar),De Liefdedrifted ashore onto Bungo, an eastern area of Kyushu Island located in the southern part of Japan. The relationship between Japan and Holland began from that moment.

    De Liefdewas one of five ships which departed for eastern Asia in 1598 from Rotterdam by way of the Strait of Magellan to explore possibilities of trading. One ship among them returned to Holland without landing anywhere and three were unfortunately attacked by enemies along the way; even De Liefde barely...

  12. 11 From Optical Prints to Ukie to Ukiyoe The Adoption and Adaptation of Western Linear Perspective in Japan
    (pp. 245-266)
    Matthi Forrer

    In the 9thmonth of 1783, Shiba Kōkan (司馬江漢, 1747–1818) proudly launched a print depicting Edo’s main river, the Sumidagawa, with people walking on its bank; the entrance and precincts of the Mimeguri shrine are seen in the distance. This was the first etching made in Japan in some one hundred years. The technique, first introduced into Japan by Portuguese Jesuit priests, had been totally forgotten after the expulsion of the Christians in 1612. Kōkan informs us in the following terms about the origins of his innovation:¹

    Dutch books contain illustrations so realistic that we can still get an...

  13. 12 Japan’s Encounters with the West through the VOC Western Paintings and Their Appropriation in Japan
    (pp. 267-290)
    Yoriko Kobayashi-Sato

    The objective of this article is to reconstruct the role of the Dutch as a cultural bridge between Japan and the West. First I will focus on the transmission and reception of some of the better-documented Western paintings that were imported by the Dutch factory in Deshima. Then I will examine the activities of the Akitarangaschool, which was not only the first in Japan to take the Western manner of painting seriously, but also became a model for transcultural remediation, as in the meaning mentioned by Astrid Erll in this volume.²

    Initial research was conducted mainly in the...

  14. 13 “To Capture Their Favor” On Gift-Giving by the VOC
    (pp. 291-320)
    Cynthia Viallé

    The Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) was a trading company with several faces. In 1602 it was granted a charter by the States-General of the Dutch Republic giving it exclusive rights to trade in Asia. The charter also permitted the VOC to conclude treaties with “Princes and Potentates” east of the Cape of Good Hope.² Through conquests in the seventeenth century the Company subsequently established a position of hegemonic power in the Indonesian archipelago. Its power was acknowledged by local rulers and its administration in Batavia conducted itself like any other kingdom in the region in diplomatic and ceremonial respects. The...

  15. 14 Circulating Art and Material Culture A Model of Transcultural Mediation
    (pp. 321-328)
    Astrid Erll

    Looking at the wealth of knowledge produced by this collection, a challenging question arises: what general insights are to be gained from the great variety of historical and art-historical studies brought together in this volume? Can research on Netherlandish art in Asia spawn a more general model of cultural mediation, a model applicable to other research projects on the global circulation of cultural artifacts? Could the findings of the NIAS project on the early modern age in Asia enrich our view of different historical periods, other social and spatial constellations? The essays collected in this volume contain an important lesson...