The Dutch are in the spotlight at the SieboldHuis Japan Museum from March 1 to June 2. The Dutch held a unique position as the only Westerners that had any contact with the Japanese between 1633 and 1852. The netsuke (miniature carvings), prints and paintings reveal how the Japanese regarded the Western ‘flame haired barbarians’ and vice versa. The objects on display are supported with quotes that vividly illustrate life in Japan at that time from the novel by Edmund de Waal, “The Hare with Amber Eyes” and “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet” by David Mitchell.
You will be delighted by Coen Hille’s personal collection of netsuke, a collection that is rarely on public display. The Maritime Museum and other private collectors have loaned rare works, we have watercolours by Kawahara Keiga (1786-1861), a marine painting by Jacob Spin (1806-1875), and nineteen Nagasaki prints. There are sketches by the Dutch Count Johan Maurits van Lynden (1807-1864) from his stay in Deshima that he later elaborated into numerous watercolours. Prints from Yokohama give us a rare insight into the years when Japan reluctantly opened up to the world.
The objects depict the special position that the Dutch occupied in Japan. Even with their privileged position they were limited to living on the trading post of Deshima. Deshima was a manmade, fan shaped island in the bay of Nagasaki. The netsuke, prints and paintings tell the story of the Dutch on Deshima. The netsuke illustrates the Japanese curiosity and fascination with the Dutch strangers countered by the Dutch perspective of Deshima as illustrated by Count van Lynden. This exhibition will appeal to every lover of Japanese art and history.
During the May holidays the SieboldHuis Japan Museum will be host to extra activities for children.