The Princessehof collection of Chinese ceramics from the former Dutch East Indies
The Princessehof Museum in Leeuwarden, theNetherlands, was founded in 1917 by the notary Nanne Ottema. He had a particular interestin Chinese ceramics and acquired an extensive collection on which he also published severalbooks. Even though Ottema never travelled to Asia, a major part of his collection was gathered there by other individuals. In particular the collections assembled during the early twentiethcentury in Indonesia (the former Dutch EastIndies) by Anne Tjibbes van der Meulen (1862-1934) and Reinier Verbeek (1841-1926) form an important part of the Princessehof collection.The former is particularly known for its collection of storage jars (also known as martaban) and the latter for its collection of Zhanghzouware. These ceramics had often for centuries been important heirloom pieces for local families, while other pieces were found during excavations. One notable example are several Tang dynasty storage jars found in the vicinity of the Borobudur. This article will discuss the formation of the Asian ceramics collection at the Princessehof by looking at these two collectors and highlighting the provenance of several exemplary objects.
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