A LARGE INDONESIAN AMBOYNA AND EBONY PORTABLE WRITING DESK WITH BRASS MOUNTS
Indonesia, 18th century
With several compartments between the sloping lid, with openwork brass mounts and handles to the sides, with key.
H. 24 x W. 73 x D. 56 cm
Senior VOC officials at the many stations faraway from Batavia were obliged to send regular written communications about trade and local political developments to the High Government in Batavia. In such reports everything was touched upon, such as customs of the indigenous people, their housing, food, clothing, religion, their temperament (cruel, friendly, faithful or false) and their agriculture, animal husbandry, mining and industries could not be omitted. Above all, everything had to be copied three or four times, which clearly made portable writing desks and document boxes indispensable items of furniture for VOC officials in faraway trade posts (Jan Veenendaal, Furniture from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India during the Dutch period, p. 85, Delft 1985).