Guanyin

anonymous, c. 1100 - c. 1200, figure, AK-MAK-84

The Buddhist deity Guanyin, who rescues people in need, is shown here meditating, seated on a rock. According to legend, he was once discovered in this position, meditating on the moon’s reflection in the water - in Buddhism a symbol of illusion and transience. His pose and facial expression embody…

Cabinet of a Militia Company

anonymous, c. 1520 - c. 1530, furniture, BK-KOG-656

Book chest of Hugo de Groot

anonymous, c. 1600 - c. 1615, NG-KOG-1208

Traditionally, it was in this case that Hugo de Groot escaped from Loevestein Castle in 1621. He had been serving a life sentence there since 1619. The internationally renowned jurist De Groot (Grotius) had been arrested in 1618 as a political opponent of Prince Maurice. After his escape, De Groot…

Dolls’ house of Petronella Oortman

anonymous, c. 1686 - c. 1710, furniture, BK-NM-1010

The exterior of this dolls house is a work of art in its own right, with its mother-of-pearl and pewter veneer. The owners’ initials - Petronella Oortman and her husband Johannes Brandt, a cloth merchant in Amsterdam - are inlaid on both sides. Remarkably, all the domestic furnishings were made…

Javanese Court Officials

anonymous, c. 1820 - c. 1870, painting, NG-2010-39

Clothes make the man, so too in Indonesia. These are not actual portraits, but types. In addition to revealing the region these men come from, the meticulously painted clothes and batik motifs also provide information about their rank and status. These proud, confident figures are unusual: in…

Javaanse hoffunctionarissen

anonymous, c. 1820 - c. 1870, painting, NG-2010-38

Clothes make the man, so too in Indonesia. These are not actual portraits, but types. In addition to revealing the region these men come from, the meticulously painted clothes and batik motifs also provide information about their rank and status. These proud, confident figures are unusual: in…

Layette Cupboard

anonymous, c. 1660 - c. 1670, furniture, BK-1985-10

Flower, fruit and shell patterns are carved into the walnut veneer of this cupboard. It was designed to hold nappies (diapers) and babies’ clothes. Old inventories of lying-in rooms mention these cupboards. The Dutch term is: ‘luiermandskast’.

Javaanse hoffunctionarissen

anonymous, c. 1820 - c. 1870, painting, NG-2010-41

Clothes make the man, so too in Indonesia. These are not actual portraits, but types. In addition to revealing the region these men come from, the meticulously painted clothes and batik motifs also provide information about their rank and status. These proud, confident figures are unusual: in…

Two temple guardians

anonymous, c. 1300 - c. 1400, AK-RAK-2007-1-B

These guards stand at the entrance to a temple to ward off evil. They are holding a vajra, with which to crush ignorance. Their open and shut mouths represent the first and last letters of the Japanese script: A and N: this symbolises the totality of sounds and letters, of knowledge. Worshippers who…

Two temple guardians

anonymous, c. 1300 - c. 1400, AK-RAK-2007-1-A