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Batavia rankenkast.jpg
Batavia rankenkast detail.jpg



Jakarta (Batavia), first half 18th century

The cabinet with spreading hood, under which three carvings of swags with flowers and fruits coming out of a cherub's head, ending in a tassel, on four turned legs and bun feet.


H. 167 x W. 132.5 x D. 60 cm



Cabinets on stands, based on 17th-century Dutch models, were popular pieces of furniture in Batavia judging from the surviving examples, and they remained a standard form for the Dutch in Indonesia throughout the 18th century. Usually, these cabinets made for the Dutch are plain. The carvings of swags with flowers and fruits coming out of cherub’s heads and ending in tassels are very similar to carvings on cabinets made in Holland where these are called “rankenkasten”.


In the Dutch East Indies, this type of carving was not common, partly because the use of glue was problematic in the tropics. The only two other examples known to me of cabinets from the Dutch East Indies with similar carvings are in the collection of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag ( Titus Eliëns, ed. Wonen op de Kaap en in Batavia 1602-1795, p. 84) and in the Jan Veenendaal Collection. On the other hand, Indonesian cabinets made in the furniture workshops of central Java, Jepara, and Sumatra usually have extensive carvings of flower-swags on the frames. carved doors, aprons and pediment gables, not applied but in the full wood. These are later 18th and 19th century and not made specifically for the Dutch residents in Indonesia.

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