Antique Furnishings

Antique collecting in Indonesia

Antique collecting in Indonesia


One thing that I noticed during a 15 month working stint in West Java was the apparent absence of Dutch remnants as regards infrastructure given the Dutch East Indian Company settlement deriving from the Spice trade dated back to the 1640’s and then the ongoing Dutch presence in Indonesia which lasted until the 1940’s when the Indonesian War of Independence took place. I found very few Antiques that were Dutch but I did find this one very cool Water Filter that can be hung on a wall (unfortunately no lid) – Gloxinia Maestricht are the markings.

The brass item is VOC  (Dutch East India Company) marked and possibly a mortar minus the pestle? A very interesting item though I suspect of little value but of good memories in the hunt for those genuine antiques that remain in West Java.

I also found an (old?) sword allegedly Portuguese and that is quite possible as they did visit and establish some presence in Indonesia back in the 1500’s. The handle has a beautiful patina and is definitely Antiquity – the blade is badly rusted and the scabbard is metal. I think I am going to get it Dna’d.


My own question about being old and antique comes with experience there buying something that looks like it was really old but the ageing is due to the item having been buried for a time and then getting a greenish aged look, in reality not an antique at all.

I did buy a very nice painting as well that I am stuffed if I can now find – it took many hours of negotiation with the sellers seated in a junk yard in Bandung and debating (through my Driver acting as Interpreter) about the authenticity of the work. Back in NZ I took it to a noted Art critic from a reputable company who thought it was a genuine piece and by a well recognised Dutch Painter and could be worth a bob or two – I agreed to send it to  their recommended Valuation Company in Singapore. The reply alas was that it was a copy as the original had evidently been sold some three years prior and by that same Company in Singapore – dreams of a great pot of gold dashed. My question does still remain in my head – what if the first sale was a copy and mine was the genuine article?