Plate XX, Weiber vnd Kebszweiber desz Konigs von Tuban
From Part V of Johann Theodor de Bry (1561-1623) and Johann Isreal de Bry's (1565-1609) Orientalische Indien (“Little Voyages”), Funffter Theil der Orientalischen Indien...Frankfurt: 1601
Engraving with original, early 17th century hand color heightened with gold on laid paper; paper dimensions: approximately: 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
Printed by Matthias Becker
van Groesen 63
THE HAREM AND THE DUCK NESTING PLACE OF THE KING OF TUBAN
This illustration does not follow the chronology of the travel account. After all, here we are back in the village of Tuban, on the east coast of Java, where the Dutch put in en route from Bantam to the Maluku Islands.
At the top left we see a small building where the bedrooms of the king's wives are located. If you look closely, to the right of the letter B you see a figure slipping through the canvas. To the right of this structure, near the letters C, D and E, are the king's concubines, three hundred in total according to the travel account. A few Dutchmen look at the seated group of women. In the foreground of the illustration, near the letter A, we see the duck cage. The ducks are somewhat larger than the Dutch variety, and mostly white.
Title: Women and mistresses of the king of Tuban.
Text: Finally the king showed the Dutch the bedchamber in which his wives which were four were with whom he did plenty of talking in front of the Dutch marked with A. B. the king's mistresses split up in different locations which were almost three hundred. D. a water pond or pool/ inside the king's special water birds: which are similar to our ducks but just slightly bigger. They built a roof over this pool/ to protect them from the sun as you can see in this illustration. End.**
ENGRAVED PLATES FROM VOLUME V OF DE BRY’S ‘LITTLE VOYAGES’ OF THE EAST INDIES
Documenting the East Indian Journey led by Admiral Jacob Cornelius van Neck (1598), featuring Depictions of: Mauritius, Tuban, Banda, Ternate, Molluccas, Banda, and Gammalamme
The very first Dutch voyage to the East Indies took place in 1595 and was led by the brothers Frederik and Cornelis de Houtman. The second expedition followed in 1598, led by Admiral Jacob Cornelius van Neck. Eight ships left Amsterdam on this journey.
One of these ships was captained by Jacob van Heemskerck, who earlier had participated in the arctic expedition led by Willem Barents in 1595- 1597, an ill-fated journey that ended with the famous overwintering in Novaya Zemlya. In addition to Heemskerck there was a third lead- ing figure on this trip, Vice Admiral Wijbrand van Warwijck.
The eight ships departed in the direction of southern Africa. After the Cape of Good Hope, half the fleet put in at Madagascar, the other half went to Mauritius. The admiral met up with the other captains in Bantam (on the northern point of Java).
After loading the ships with a great quantity of spices there, Van Neck sent vice admirals Van Heemskerck and Van Warwijck on to the Maluku Islands (formerly known as the Moluccas, or Spice Islands). He himself started the return journey. After 14 months, on 19 July 1599, Van Neck returned to the Netherlands with a rich cargo: 600,000 pounds of pepper, 250,000 pounds of cloves, 20,000 pounds of nutmeg and 200 pounds of mace.
When Van Neck distributed the profits among the expedition's shareholders, Van Warwijck and Van Heemskerck were already far along in their journey. They first put in at the Javan city of Tuban, where they bought food and visited the palace of the local king. They continued on to Ambon, where they arrived in 1599. A few trading posts were opened on the Maluku island of Ambon for the purchase of cloves. Commerce also took place on Banda, part of the southern Maluku Islands and at the time the only island in the world where nutmeg grew.
De Bry's prints are illustrations to the original travel accounts of Van Neck and Warwijck and were probably drawn in the Netherlands after the expedition's return, on the basis of sketches that made by the crew.*
*Research provided by Martine Gosselink, head of the History department at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Netherlands.
**Translated from original German by Karl Nesseler.
Description compiled by Erik Brockett who is pleased to provide additional information relating to this or other examples of the work of Johann Theodor de Bry available at Arader Galleries. He can be contacted at email@example.com