AN INDONESIAN CARVED EBONY BOX WITH DRAWER AND BRASS MOUNTS
Probably Jakarta (Batavia), late 17th century
Elaborately carved with scrolling flower pattern, with a drawer below a lid, with brass mounts and heart-shaped lockplate.
H. 23 x W. 37.5 x D. 26.2 cm
Jan Habbema (Ambon 1885 – after October 1940), started his in studies in law in Leiden in 1904, became Resident of Rembang, of Blora, Djocja and Bodjonegoro in Indonesia between 1930 and 1936, moved to the Hague in 1937 where he still lived in 1940 at the outbreak of the war. The box remained in Jan Habbema’s family until the present day. Jan Habbema had a large and very important collection of antique Dutch colonial furniture (see a photograph of the interior of his house in 1935 in Jan Veenendaal, Wonen op de Kaap en in Batavia, pg. 44).
The beautiful high-relief type III carving in this box (see Jan Veenendaal in Wonen op de Kaap en in Batavia, editor Titus M. Eliëns, p. 31) relates closely to the carving in an ebony box with silver mounts with the town mark of Batavia, in the collection of het Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (S.M. Voskuil-Groenewegen e.a. Zilver uit de tijd van de Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, p. 165).
}Therefore this box probably also is from Batavia but done by Indian Tamil slaves working in Batavia. The high-relief carving in this box is not only characteristic of the decoration found in ebony cabinets, beds, chairs and settees produced for the Dutch in Batavia at the end of the 17th century, but also colonial silver made during the same period in Batavia was decorated with similar floral motifs.