The director of the Koloniaal Museum Haarlem, M. Greshoff, had this sofa made in 1906-1907 bearing the inscription DE RUST IS UIT GOD, DE HAAST IS UIT DEN BOOZE (Relaxation comes from God, haste is the devil’s work). It was given a place in the ‘bamboo vestibule’, a hall that was full of bamboo, rattan and cane variations and their applications in Indonesian wickerwork. The furniture maker J.P. Strijbos and sculptor J. Bronner made it from Tembusu wood. Strijbos was a teacher at the School voor Bouwkunde, Versierende Kunsten en Kunstambachten (School of Architecture, Decorative Arts and Artistic Crafts) that was located next to the Koloniaal Museum and affiliated with it. Bronner, later the director of the Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten (National Academy for the Visual Arts) in Amsterdam, attended lessons there. During those years, Strijbos was an adherent of theosophy. The sofa emanates a theosophical atmosphere and, as such, is an exponent of the Nieuwe Kunst (New Art), the movement of community artists in the Netherlands.
The sofa has three back panels. On the middle panel sits the Buddha in ‘diamond position’ under the sacred Bodhi tree, the tree of enlightenment, with an edge of lotus motifs that are
repeated elsewhere. The tree on the seat panels is probably a contraction of the fig tree rooted in heaven and the lotus plant sprouting on the waters. The panels are flanked by two heads: ‘Haste’ and ‘Relaxation’. The path to enlightenment requires peace and meditation.
Chaouqui, R. In: Legene, Susan & Janneke van Dijk, 'The Netherlands East Indies at the Tropenmuseum'. Amsterdam: KIT Publishers, 2010, p. 87.
133 x 150,5 x 63cm (52 3/8 x 59 1/4 x 24 13/16in.)