Five Javanese court officials, anonymous, c. 1820 - c. 1870
The axiom ‘clothes make the man’ also held true in Indonesia. These are not actual portraits, but ‘types’. The accurately rendered garments and batik motifs indicate not only the region from which these men came, they also provide information about their rank and status. These resolute, confident figures are exceptional and were probably painted by a non-Western artist. In European depictions, Indonesians were usually depicted as adversaries, colonial subjects or ‘innocent’ primitives.