Dutch East India / Dutch Wax print

Setting the tone for trade:

1511 Portuguese settled in the Straits of Malacca close to the outer end of the Hsi Yang route as early as 15I I, and established trading posts at Macao (I557) and Nagasaki (I580). Thus they could control the main thoroughfare between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.


1572 Spanish are headquartered in Manila.  Imported south American Silver in order to purchase silk from Chinese maritime traders.

1596 Dutch Arrive.  Situate themselves in South East Asia, close to the only other thoroughfare between the Indian Ocean and South Cina Sea, in the Sunda Strait.

First dutch man to arrive to Japan in 1600


Dutch East India Company  VOC founded in 1602   Went bankrupt and dissolved in 1800.

Trade with East: VOC

Acting on behalf of European governments in Asia.

They were almost states by themselves with their own ships (military and merchant)

It was the first Company to issue stock.

Two types of shareholders:

Paticipanten: non-managing partners

Bewindhebbers – managing partners

6 chambers in: Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam, Enkuizen, Middleburg and Hoorn.  Each chamber had delegates that were chosen from bewindhebbers, and the chambers raised the funds for the company.

1603  Banten, West Java (Batavia Indonesia today)

1640 Galle, Sri Lanka, obtained by the Portuguese.

1652 Cape of Good Hope / Cap Colony (South Africa)

outposts in:

Persia (Iran)

Bengal (Bangladesh)

Malacca (Malaysia)

Siam (Thailand)

Canton (China)

Formosa (Taiwan)


1669  richest private company in the world, 150 merchant ships, 40 warships, 50,000 employees, a private army of 10,000 soldiers, and a dividend payment of 40 percent.


Ships  Fluyt


Brought silver from Spain and Peru, copper from Japan.  These good were used to trade textiles with India and China.  Introduced European ideas and technology to Asia.  They also traded spices and brought them back to Europe.

Indian Textiles were brought to the Indonesian Archipelago to purcahse spices.

Chinese silk was in great demand in Japan was the second most lucrative produce on the European Market.

The purchase of silk dpeneded on a widley spread supply networks of commodities to be bartered for it.


A history of imitation and mimicry:

Dutch East India Company  – Indonesian Batik produced in Java.

Batik: Cloth with little dots. drawn or printed hot wax forms a resist, so color can not adhere to the cloth.

130316 Pics 025r1.JPG


Possible ways the fabric migrated from Indonesia to Africa:

  1. In the late 1800s, Dutch freighters on their way to Indonesia from Europe stocked with their machine-made batik textiles stopped at various African ports, and subsequently an African client base grew.
  2. Dutch wax fabrics did not do as well as expected in the Indonesian market due, in part because of economic restrictions imposed on the sale of forign textiles at the beginning of the 20th century to protect locally made batik textiles.
  3. Industrialised wax prints were regarded as much poorer in quality that the locally handmade batiks. In order to prevent a loss, the target market switched to West Africa.
  4. West African indentured soldiers for the Dutch in Indonesia, also known as the Black Dutchmen. 1810 and 1862 and many had taken Indonesian batik with them on their return home as gifts for their families.

Wax prints from Holland were brought to Gold Coast (Ghana) in 1890’s. By Ebenezer Brown Fleming, a Scottish textile wholesaler.

Wax print equated with wealth and status.  Uniwax Factory in Cote d’Ivorie 


Motifs were given names drawn from lived experience or popular wisdom, a practice which became associated with the designs succes.

Roller Print – Fancy Dress













Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s