A large Indian rosewood VOC chest with brass mounts
Sri Lanka, 18th century
H. 80 x W. 140 x D. 65 cm (including bun feet)
The many moves from post to post undertaken by VOC employees, while in the East, made the chest an indispensable item of furniture. Also when repatriated the chest fulfilled the important function of packing desirable goods such as tea or Indian textiles, to be sold in patria. Officially the VOC, however, vetoed all private trade and tried to regulate the contents, sizes and number of chest each passenger could ship with him. The present chest was called a “plunjekist,” a kit chest, for the third surgeon, junior carpenter, midshipmen, not really large enough for much ‘contraband.’ However, all these regulations did not really prevent the Company employees from dodging them and from conducting their own private trade.