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A fine Indonesian silver Rococo engraved sirih box

Batavia (Jakarta), circa 1770, with maker’s mark HR, Hendrik Rennebaum (?- 1793, act. 1769-1780) and a tree, probably the crest of Hendrik Rennebaum

H. 7 x W. 18.4 x D. 13 cm
Weight: 1115 grams


With a silvered metal betel nut cutter in the shape of a parrot, 19th century, measuring 17.5 cm in length.

Thanks to the inventory of his possessions made in 1780, we know that Hendrik Rennebaum had a thriving business. The reason for the inventory was that Rennebaum had become mentally incompetent to manage his own affairs. The contents of his shop included over 450 objects made of gold
and silver, ranging from jewellery, silver tableware, commemorative salvers, tobacco boxes and betel boxes. Unfortunately, of the 20 commemorative salvers mentioned, only one so far is known to survive, and of the 20 cuspidors and 23 silver candlesticks, not one has yet been traced. The same is true of other domestic objects, such as mustard pots, fish dishes, finger bowls, salt cellars and tobacco braziers. Of the large quantity of silver tableware, only a single porridge spoon survives. The small items include pin trays, purse frames and silver toys, as well as knob, handles for walking sticks, buttons, and shoe and knee buckles.

The inventory also includes all of Rennebaum’s tools, and, as was customary at that time, also his enslaved people. Three of them were silversmiths: ‘January van Bengalen', who had a wife and two children, ‘October van Boegis’ who was a ‘boss silversmith’ and ‘Julij van Soembawa’.

From 1775 to 1780 Rennebaum held the post of assay master, and
was very active in public life, being the standard-bearer for the Westzijdse Burgercompagnie from 1769 to 1771, and dean and elder of the Lutheran Church in Batavia.

Rennebaum Batavia Silver Dutch Colonial Sirih box Marked VOC
Rennebaum Batavia Silver Dutch Colonial Sirih box Marked VOC
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