AN EXCEPTIONALLY LARGE INDONESIAN KALIATUR AND TEAK WOOD TWO-PART BENCH
Indonesia, Jakarta (Batavia) or the Maluku Islands, late 17th century
Extremely skillfully carved with flowers with elegantly undulating petals, resembling lotus in half-relief, with unusual half rope mouldings of the bottom rails, resting on top of carved rails, on six bun feet.
L. 233 x D. 80 x H. 87 cm
Jean van den Broek d’Obrenan (Semarang 28-1-1860 – 11-2-1912 Utrecht), married to Meta Marie Eleonore Miesegaes (26-1-1866 Semarang) and thence by descent.
By repute, the settee came through Meta’s family line. Meta’s great-grandfather, Mr. D.F.Pietermaat (1790 - 1848), was the first in her family line to arrive in the Dutch East Indies in 1820. He became Resident of Batavia and Surabaya and acting Governor of Makassar. Meta’s grandfather Ary Prins (1816 - 1867) was Vice President of the Council of the Indies and twice acting Governor-General after the departure of Governor-General Pahud in 1861. One of his daughters, Louise Elisabeth, married Gerhard Herman Miesegaes, Meta’s father.
This type of settee probably originated from the Moluccas where it was used as a daybed or as an uncomfortable church bench. A similar large settee with the same length, supposed to be from the Moluccas, is in the collection of the Tropenmuseum Amsterdam (inv. no. 1436 nr. 8). On the other hand, the extremely skillful carvings are similar to carvings from Batavia, probably done by furniture makers from the Bengal Coast of India. As far as we know this trait is only known in an ebony chair in the Purba Sutanta Collection in Jakarta and in a long settee, formerly in the Museum Nusantara in Delft, both supposedly made on the Coromandel Coast of India (see Jan Veenendaal, Furniture from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India during the Dutch period, Delft 1985, Pl. 31 and Pl. 45). This points to Indian/Bengal furniture makers working in Batavia. Chairs made on the Bengal Coast usually have carved bottom rails while those made in Batavia tend to have rails in rope mouldings.