Cabinet of a Militia Company

anonymous, c. 1520 - c. 1530, furniture, BK-KOG-656

Guanyin

anonymous, c. 1100 - c. 1200, figure, AK-MAK-84

The Buddhist deity Guanyin, who rescues people in need, is shown here meditating, seated on a rock. According to legend, he was once discovered in this position, meditating on the moon’s reflection in the water - in Buddhism a symbol of illusion and transience. His pose and facial expression embody…

Blue Macaw

Meissener Porzellan Manufaktur, 1731, BK-17496

German scientists discovered the ingredients of Chinese porcelain in the 18th century. Elector August the Strong was such a fan of this hard, translucent white material that he filled his Japanese Palace in Dresden with porcelain objects. In the 1730s, he had a series of large birds and animals…

Two temple guardians

anonymous, c. 1300 - c. 1400, AK-RAK-2007-1-A

Two temple guardians

anonymous, c. 1300 - c. 1400, AK-RAK-2007-1-B

These guards stand at the entrance to a temple to ward off evil. They are holding a vajra, with which to crush ignorance. Their open and shut mouths represent the first and last letters of the Japanese script: A and N: this symbolises the totality of sounds and letters, of knowledge. Worshippers who…

Diorama of a Slave Dance

Gerrit Schouten, 1830, NG-2005-24

The scene in the dance tent is a ‘du’, a role-play event with music and dancing, held once every year on the plantations. Both players and audience were slaves. The main character was the ‘Afrankeri’, the narrator, left. The man in the red suit on the right is playing the king. Europeans in Suriname…

Bust of Saint Frederick

Elias Scerpswert, 1362, reliquary, BK-NM-11450

De Dam te Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner, 1901, drawing, SK-A-3659

Portrait of Johannes Munter

Bartholomeus Eggers, 1673, BK-KOG-1457