AN EXTREMELY RARE CIRCULAR JAPANESE ARMORIAL LACQUER SHIELD FOR THE DUTCH MARKET WITH INITIALS

17th century

The border decorated with gold floral motif, the initials JLI (?) centrally below a coronet.

Diam. 52.5 cm

Note:

The shields were made of buffalo or rhino hide in India/ Bengal and shipped to Japan for lacquering. Most lacquered shields were ordered by the Opperhoofds/Directors of Deshima such as the one in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm for Frederik Coyett, Opperhoofd in 1648 and 1653, and the one in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam made for Gabriel Happart, Opperhoofd in 1654. The shield made for Constantijn Ranst, Opperhoofd in 1668,1684 and 1687 is in the Ashmolean Museum and the one for Johannes Camphuys, Opperhoofd in 1672, 1674 and 1676 in the museum of Ethnology in Leiden. Then there is one very similar to the present one, made for Johannes van Leenen, who served in the factory of Houghly in 1654-1678 and was commander in Sumatra in 1679-1685, in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. This is the only other shield known with a monogram surmounted by a coronet on a plain black ground. All these shields clearly were showpieces, meant as regalia at official occasions, and therefore have minimal wear and tear.