VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Painting on cloth
5910-1
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Compared to the masterpiece 'View on Batavia', showing an idealistic scene of the trading post Batavia, this work shows us a totally different view on the Dutch colonial period. It is an exquisite example of folk art, made by a remarkable artist. Besides that, very few paintings like these have survived.

History of the Object
This almost 100-year old narrative painting is a critical view on the Dutch colonial government on Java. In the 19th century, the Dutch domination had reached as far as the inlands of Indonesia. The system of forced farming on Java led to exploitation of the local habitants and famine in the villages. The painting both shows Javanese and Dutch people. It tells the story of a trial in nine scenes divided in two rows: the arrest, trial and execution of a group of Javanese. The names of some of the persons are shown next to the figures. Gegesik, Kidul on Java has been a famous art centre for decades. From the end of the 19th century it has attracted numerous artists. Sitisiwan was the first to paint historical events and wayang scenes on cloth. He chose the style of wayang figures for this painting, which can be read as a comic strip.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Cotton, dye 
Measurements
703x145 cm 
Creator name
Sitisiwan 
Creator date
1865-1948 
Where it was made
Indonesia; Java; Ceribon; Kidul; Gegesik 
Geography
Indonesia 
Time period
AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
20th Century; circa 1920 
Function
This painting was hung during festivities. Paintings like this were hired by a village from an entrepreneur who also provided a gamelan orchestra, a wayang play etc. These type of paintings could be ordered from artists. The artist was free in choosing the subject and style. Traditionally, animals, vegetation and soldiers were depicted. Portraying a narrative historical scene as shown here is uncommon, but very typical for this artist. 
Acquisition
Purchased in 2002. The museum acquired this piece as it was considered a very important statement by the local population on Dutch colonial rule. 
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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