01 January 2015
IN 1601, Theodorus de Bry published, in Frankfurt, one of the first accounts of life in the commercial port city of Banten in West Java.
At the time, there were few accounts of life in South-east Asia available in the Western world. De Bry’s account was accompanied by more than 30 engravings of Banten that depicted what ordinary life was like in that independent South-east Asian kingdom then.
His images show an impressive array of local merchant vessels that were found in the port of Banten, as well as ships that had come all the way from India and China. They depicted the various communities then found working, trading and living in that West Javanese kingdom, which included – apart from the Bantenese themselves – other Javanese, Madurese, Sumatrans, Malays, Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Persians, Burmans and others.
…The writer is an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
GPO / Online / Print
Last updated on 03/12/2015