VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Folding screen
267-1
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Most objects the Tropenmuseum chose as masterpieces from its collection illustrate the contact between Asia and the Netherlands, either by design or by commemorating events known both as important and commonplace. The Tropenmuseum only has a very small collection of objects from Japan. Within this collection this folding screen certainly is a masterpiece. Not only because of the fine quality of the painting but especially for the interesting story it conveys to the viewer.

History of the Object
Most likely the portrait depicts commander of Décima Jan Cock Blomhoff (1779-1853) with his wife Titia Bergsma. Blomhoff was commander of the Dutch trading post on the Japanese isle Décima during the years 1817-1823. During the years 1809-1813, Blomhoff was storehouse supervisor of the Dutch trading post on Décima. He returned to Holland in 1814 and married Titia Bergsma on 4 April 1815. With their son, they returned to Batavia in 1816, where Blomhoff was appointed commander of Décima. Although Japan didn't allow western women, Blomhoff took his wife and son with him. By doing this, Titia Bergsma became the first western woman to set foot in Japan. Nevertheless, the Japanese emperor ordered her to leave. She returned to Holland where she died after severel years of illness, without ever having seen her husband again.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Paper, wood, water colour, linen 
Measurements
Width 1,7 cm Height 142 cm Length 148 cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan; Nagasaki 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th Century; Probably 1817-1830 
Function
Painting, mounted as a folding screen. The style is Japanse Nagasaki Western. It is also known as the 'Nagasaki yoga' tradition. 
Acquisition
Gift from E. Heldring to the museum in November 1925. Heldring bought the folding screen in a little antique shop in Tokyo in 1897. Ernst Heldring (1871-1954) was director of the Royal Dutch Steamboat Company 1899-1937 and president of the Dutch Trading Company 1939-1948. In 1899 he co-founded Port and Coal Station, Sabang
Copyright
No information, data or images may be published or reproduced without written permission of KIT Tropenmuseum. 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam 
Museum
Tropenmuseum 
Credit line
©Tropenmuseum 

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