211. European trading posts

When the European merchants were granted permission by China to sail on Canton, the VOC equipped their ships for buying tea, silk and porcelain there in 1728. In exchange the Dutch supplied silver or opium. The flags indicate various European settlements which were located outside the town walls of Canton. View of the European loges in Canton Anonymous, approximately 1840-1845

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212. A mark of good taste

It was comfortable to wear and quickly became a popular garment worn indoors by European men and women: the Japanese robe. The models made from silk and gold or silver brocade are much loved. Having one’s portrait painted wearing a Japanese robe not only displayed one’s wealth, but also one’s superior taste. Portrait of the Amsterdam merchant Abraham van Bronckhorst

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213. Clara the rhinoceros

A portrait of Clara the rhinoceros that Jan Albert Sichterman received in 1738 as a present of the ruler of Bengal. Clara became the pet of the Sichterman family. Jean Baptiste Oudry, 1749 Staatliches Museum Schwerin, Germany

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214. King of Groningen

A bold leader surrounded by two sons and a loyal dog. That is how Jan Albert Sichterman wanted to be depicted. After 28 years in the East, he returned as an immensely rich man to his place of birth, Groningen. He kept treasures of art in his grand mansion: bone china tea services, paintings, books and curiosities. The story went

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215. A valiant vicar

It was a dramatic moment: The daughters of the reverend Hambroeck begged him to stay in fort Zeelandia and not return to the one giving his orders, the Chinese admiral Coxinga. They were afraid that Coxinga was going to kill the vicar. After all, Hambroeck did not carry out his orders of forcing the Dutch in the besieged fortress to

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216. Tea ritual

A chap called Joris is observing the ritual of drinking tea with a degree of amazement; he had to sit for it. Joris has just returned from Asia and the elaborate customs and the delicate crockery associated with the arrival of tea in the Netherlands surprised him. The scene comes from the stage play The foolish squire from 1684, written

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