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Five Javanese court officials

Anonymousc. 1820 - c. 1870

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

Clothes make the man, so too in Indonesia. These are not actual portraits, but types. In addition to revealing the region these men come from, the meticulously painted clothes and batik motifs also provide information about their rank and status.

These proud, confident figures are unusual: in Western pictures, Indonesians were usually portrayed as hostile, subservient or as unspoilt savages.

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