123. Ambonese soldiers in marching tunics

Return to Previous Page

Product Description

123. Amboneesche Militairen in marshtenue.
Antique school board of Ambonese soldiers in marching tunics. Taken c.1895 and published between 1912 and 1914 in Holland.
Ambonese soldiers, shown in this plate wearing their marching tunics, were noted for their courage, loyalty, toughness and their the ability to fight all kinds of terrain. At the turn of the century, the Dutch colonial army numbered 34,050: 1.350 Dutch officers, 10,500 European non- commissioned officers (including Jean Demmeni) and troops, 5,700 Ambonese, and 16,500 recruits from other islands in the archipelago. The Ambonese were held in such high esteem, they received the same pay and meals as their European counterparts although they were required to serve twice as long.

This photograph depicting the Dutch East Indies was originally published as part of an information series for school children. It consisted of 170 educational prints and covered a diverse range of subjects, separated into two parts: numbers 1-150 depicted places and people in the Dutch East Indies and numbers 151-170 depicted places and people in the Dutch West Indies. The first 150 photographs of the collection are attributed to the photographer Jean Demmeni (1866-1939), whose pictures provided the Dutch public with some of the first photographic depictions of the colonies that they had read so much about. Demmeni was born in Padang Panjang in West Sumatra, the son of a native woman of the island of Madura and a Frenchman who had left his country to join the Dutch East Indies Army. Demmeni followed in his fatherʹs footsteps and, after technical training in Holland, entered the Third Infantry Regiment in 1887. He was seconded to the topographic unit of the armed forces and in 1894 was assigned as the official photographer to an expedition to Borneo led by Dr. A.W. Nieuwenhuis. Demmeni was then employed by the Topographical Service at Batavia from 1911 until 1920, after which he worked as a photographer at the Central Office of Dactyloscopy. In the biography of Jean Demmeni Indonesia: Image s of the Past (Singapore: 1987), Leo Haks described him as ʹone of the first photographersʹ to capture the islands of the Indonesian archipelago, and called his work a ‘vital contribution to Indonesian history and the art of photography’ which ʹprovides a comprehensive record of the Indonesian islands at the turn of the century, unmatched in its singular insightsʹ. This selection of photographs shows interesting details around the expansion of industries such as tobacco (a lucrative export) in the area, and the local processes of production. The group also records the religious influences in the region, showing Islamic and Christian presences in local communities. Islam had been established in Indonesia since the fourteenth century, and colonial European settlers had ushered in a new phase of Christian proselytising around the Pacific Ocean – one which was frequently characterised by notorious insensitivity towards the indigenous population. However, these photographs demonstrate the more tolerant educational interest being taken at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Measures; 72 x 60 cm. ( complete board )

Purchase code: Po0236

Price on request.

Product Enquiry

Product Enquiry

Related Products

DE BROOD – VRUGT. Breadfruit print c.1740 ~ SOLD

DE BROOD – VRUGT. Breadfruit print c.1740 Attractive mid- 18th Century hand coloured copper engraving of breadfruit. Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family (Moraceae) originating in the South...


REEDE VAN BATAVIA Harbor c 1844 Java. PL. III  DE REEDE VAN BATAVIA.   LA RADE DE BATAVIA. A very fine and detailed black and white mid-19th century lithograph by Paulus Lauters (1806-1875) of a Batavia Roads showing...

Emperors of Japan – Murder of Emperor Cubo


Prambanan Yogyakarta Indonesia, 1893

Prambanan Yogyakarta Indonesia, 1893 Original 1893 photographs of the rediscovery of the Tjandi Prambanan temple, taken by the “Dutch Indies Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology” The temple was first built at the site around...

GUNUNG GUNTUR Central Java by Junghuhn

GUNUNG GUNTUR Central Java by Junghuhn A rare and beautiful coloured lithograph of the volcanic crater of Gunung Guntur in Central Java. The print is from one of two German editions of the drawing of...

Succession of the Emperors of China

Succession of the Emperors of China SUCCESSION DES EMPEREURS DE LA CHINE DIVISEE EN XXII FAMILLES. An early 18th century French print in modern hand-colour showing the succession of the Emperors of China in the...

Flying Bridge in the province of Xansi China

Flying Bridge in the province of Xansi China HABILLEMENS D’HOMMES & DE FEMMES DE DIVERSES PROVINCES DE LA CHINE AVEC UN DES PLUS BEAUX MONUMENS DE CE PAIS-LA. An early 18th century French print in...

Samboupo ( Schley, c.1747 )

Samboupo ( Schley, c.1747 ) Fine beautifully so called bird’s-eye perspective with great detail of the city and port of Samboupo, located in the Celebes islands, Indonesia, on the island of Macassar. The print shows...
Back to top