Photo’s by Thilly Weissenborn of photo studio ,,Lux”, Java 1917-1941

Thilly Weissenborn (1889-1964) became known as the first female professional photographer of the colonial Dutch East Indies, She photographed mainly in Western-Java (Garoet) working for and later owning Photo Studio ,,Lux”.

Original period (1917-1941) prints made by her are getting hard to find and are very collectable. In my collection I have an album with several of her photo’s. Some with the trademark of Lux and some unmarked but known photo’s by her.

This photo is titled “tea picker from Sundan (Indonesian Island) as she looks in real life” contrasting some other work Weissenborn made that was more “promotional” for the tea industry.

It seems to be an album of a mother and daughter covering a world trip in the 1920s visiting many countries including the East Indies. The album starts in the UK, going to Shanghai, Japan and Indonesia but ending again in Europe (Germany). Photo’s like these were bought and added to the privately made pictures. There are many professional pictures from Indonesia from which only some are confirmed by Lux.

Two pictures in Japan with the same mother and daughter combination and a photo of a large group in Indonesia, none of these by Lux of course.

Photo by Lux of unknown location
The Western Javanese Garoet plains from the “Ngamplang” sanatorium/hotel by Lux

All pictures from my own collection. Several original Lux pictures from the album went to a friend. The album had several loose pictures and many empty pages were the photo’s were already removed before the album came into my collection.

Source: Vastgelegd voor later, Indische foto’s van Thilly Weissenborn – Verzameld door Ernst Drissen, 1983

Bronze plaque of an unknown Hungarian sergeant – by Turáni Kovács Imre, dated 1938

As the title states this plaque is of a, so far unknown, sergeant of the Hungarian army. It has a diameter of almost 33cm and weighs 5kg! Any help with establishing who the sergeant is would be most welcome!!!

The artist who designed it is Turáni Kovács Imre who was born in 1910 and died in 1975. More details about his career you can find here.

The foundry that produced the plaque is also given on the bronze!

The front seems to have some old damage that was there when the plaque was repatinated or gilded at the outside again. This also seems to have been done a long time ago. My guess this plaque was placed at a house but where and why is unknown.

Autograph of Erzherzog Joseph – KuK General, 1916

A full bio can be found here – it is in German though! He was an important member of the Hungarian branch of the Austro-Hungarian royal family of Habsburg -Lotharingen.

Born in 1872 in Hungary he had a military career spanning form lieutenant in 1890 up to full Field Marshall and the royal representative for Hungary in 1918.

The collecting of autographs is not a new trend but already existed in the late 19th and early 20th century and even before. This autograph was send to a Austrian collector, Fritz Wölfler, of autographs op public people of the Austro-Hungarian empire in the early 20th century. The collection was sold by a dealer in 2007 on Ebay in Austria.

FH Joseph GdK (föherceg Joseph General der Kavelerie)

It seems to be a short version of his autograph. The full version can be seen below (photo taken from Facebook – not my collection).

German Hussar by Hoynck van Papendrecht

This is another work of the famous Dutch artist Jan Hoynck van Papendrecht who specialized in military subject. His full biography you can read here. And I have more extensive story about another watercolour by him in an earlier blog

This specific watercolour depicts a German Hussar (light cavalry) of the Brandenburger Husaren Regiment Nr. 3 – Husaren Regiment Von Zieten (Brandenburgisches) Nr. 3 and has the typical refinement of HvP.

It is dated 1901 in which period he made trip to Germany to study their uniforms and make paintings. There are several more of similar paintings from the same period that can be found here

Hussar Attack, 1915 Bronze by Szamosi, Huszár Roham

This bronze is titled “Huszár Roham” (in Hungarian) which translates in “Attack of the Hussars”. The Hussars are the traditional Hungarian horse cavalry and has become a generic name for light cavalry units in all armies in Europe in the 19th and early 20th century. During WW1 horses bacame outdated in the course of the war and many cavalry units became “dismounted”, so on foot, without their horses. In 1915, the date of this work, the Hussars were still very much in action with their horses. Especially on the Eastern front, fighting against the Russians over large areas with relatively few people.

This original bronze (probably the only existing example) was made by the Hungarian artist Szamosi. It took me years to find this out. I always thought the first letter was a R in place of the actual SZ.  Szamosi lived between 1885 and 1971 and specialized in medals and plaquettes. This one is of a formidable size, 30 cm in diameter.

When I found it I had a difficult time to establish how to display this work of art. Finally I decided to have it framed as a “painting” with the 2 screws it has on the back.

Not sure where and how is was placed originally, maybe on a wall? Before the war Szamosi was already active both as an artist and as an educator at the Arts Academy.

His most famous works are from the 1910s and 1920s. During the first world war he made several works of art related to the war like this one.

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Reference: Szamosi Soos

Atjeh items with a KNIL (Major A. Picard) provenance.

Most etnographical items in Dutch collections do not have a historical background story, provenance. These stories are often lost over time so that is an extra reason for writing down these blogs.

These items were collected during the career of Major A. Picard of the Dutch East Indies Army. He was born in 1850, between the early 1870s and 1898, his pension date, he rose throught the ranks to the status of Major. After his pension he returned to the Netherlands and passed away in 1905. For one of his actions he received an Honorable Mention (Mention is Despatches) which was the 2nd highest acknowledgement for gallantry after the Military Order of William. He spent his entire career in Norhtern Sumatra (Atjeh region during the long lasting wars there).

The collecting of etnographical items was popular amongst officers and even promoted by higher ranking officers. Looting was not accepted (which does not mean it did not happen) but collecting/buying was seen as an investment in a better understanding of the local population as was the learning of the local language.

His complete collection was handed down in the family several times until the last family member deceased in the early 2000s. An antiques dealer bought the entire contents of the house and sold them off.

Photo of how the items were found by the antiques dealer.

A friend was able to buy the medals and paperwork and I bought several etnographical items. You can match them with the photo above!

Despite the handkerchiefs these are all items for Atjehnese men, for tobacco, sirih and chalk or toiletries (tool sets with items like ear wax spoons, nose hair clippers and tooth picks) for the men of that region.

Carl Zeiss 10×50 – The binoculars of the century (Jahrhundert Fernglas)!

A bit less historical than most of my blogs but nevertheless a part of the history of Gerrit on which I wrote several blogs before. One of his prized posessions, next to his Rolex Datejust was a, West-German, Carl Zeiss 10×50 Binocular dubbed the “Binocular of the Century” or in German “Jahrhundert Fernglas” by the maker.

Other possesions of Gerrit including his prized Rolex Datejust.

In an article in a Dutch newspaper these binoculars are described as the Rolls Royce of binoculars which they indeed were with a prize to match. He bought them in the 60s (exact date unknown) and had them even personalized with his name. They went with him to many of the exotic places he visited during his life including the Vietnam war and many places after that.

After I received these they became part of my “historical” collection but I did not dare to use them during my own travels. Therefore I bought another pair (8x50b variation) which are even more practical in daily use.

This pair also came with the full history (purchased in 1962) and they were updated in the early 90’s with a new cover and sling. These I use on a regular basis but are nice to share also because of the full history they have.

The were bought in 1962 by a Medical Doctor and the bill even has a custom duties stamp as they were imported from Germany.

The astronomical amount of DFL 707,- in 1962

The 1904 military expedition to the Gajo region

The Dutch Campaign or Expedition medal (ereteken voor Belangrijke Krijgsverrigtingen) in context. A clasp was added to the ribbon for specific campaigns (all colonial). Next to this a Honorable Mention (MID) could be added in the form of a crown.

In this case the claps for the Expedition to the Gajo- en Alaslanden of 1904. A rare clasp ( with only around 350 awarded) for one of the most notorious expeditions in the Dutch colonial history. This was mainly caused by the book in the background which in detail describes the horrors of the expedition but on top is the first description with photo’s made by one of the participating officers. These photo’s also include the images of many native casualties.

The Gajo region was brought under Dutch Government control during this expedition. It is a remote region in the North of the Island Sumtra. It is connected to Atjeh but without the strategic (military, civil or trade) importance hence the very late moment of this action.

Most etnographical items from this region only came into Dutch collections during and after this expedition but are relatively rare like this keris with a typical Gajo ivory handle. A similar kris handle was used by the freedom fighter from Atjeh (Aceh), teukoe Oemar (teuku Umar) which is part of a Dutch museum collection (Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden).

Left a kris in Minang style with Gajo ivory handle and a loose ivory handle in the same style both from my collection next to the kris of teukoe Oemar from the collection of Museum Volkenkunde.

The significance of the stars are described in the Kris Disk by Jensen and he links them to the importance/status and role of the owner.

The campaign medals are generic and not named so cannot be traced to the original owner. This one is of the typical local style of mounting on pigskin and with a privately purchased crown for the MID (the official version had a very poor system for attachment on the ribbon). Both are typical of the period.

See for some more etnographical arms from this region my earlier blog!


Krisdisk (2007) by Karsten Sejr Jensen

Museum Volkenkunde Leiden (photo of kris of Teukoe Oemar)

Chinese Qing Dynasty work of art by Ding Guanpeng?

This work of art I bought a long time ago when I was somewhere between 12 and 15. when. In those years, together with my late father Herman, we went to all kinds of flea and antique markets to find nice things. On such a quest we found this part of a Chinese scroll  in a local (which was Deventer in that period) antique shop. Although it was not expensive I did not have the money to buy it. Because I liked it very much my father decided to buy it for me. In my 20s, when I had some money I had it framed and more recently I had it framed in a more fitting frame with museum quality glass.

Those more than 30 years I have had this work of art in my possession I never researched it further. Now with the possibilities of internet I finally was able to find out something more – many thanks again for the help Internet collecting communities!

It is probably from the 1720-1770 period which falls under the Chinese Qing Dynasty. The artist may be the famous “Ding Guanpeng” one of the great painters of the early Qing period.

Ding Guapeng is also well known for his depictions of the 18 Luohans he made for the Qianlang emperor. The scene shows two of the 18 Arhats or Luohans, the original first followers of Buddha on their mythical beasts in the clouds. Based on the info I found on Wikipedia I think on the left is Pindola the Bharadvaja described there as: Sitting dignified on a deer, as if in deep thought. With perfect composure, contented with being above worldly pursuits. And to the right is Nantimitolo tamer of the Dragon described as : In the hands are the spiritual pearl and the holy bowl, endowed with power that knows no bounds. Full of valour, vigour and awe-inspiring dignity, to succeed in vanquishing the ferocious dragon.


The seal is not of the artist – if it ever was signed that part of the scroll has been lost in time – it is a collectors seal and the seal is Japanese, not Chinese. So this work of art went from China to a Japanese collection before it came to the Netherlands (and who knows where in between…).  The seal reads 佐渡 良 Sado Ryo 藏書 books of collection ( Sado Ryo is alias of 坪井 信良 Tsuboi Shinryo 1823-1904 ) So it is safe to say is was collected in the 19th century.



Tsuboi Shinryo Born: 1823/8/28 Died: 1904/11/9 Japanese: 坪井信良 (Tsuboi Shinryou)
Tsuboi Shinryô was a Rangaku medical scholar of the Bakumatsu and Meiji periods, and the father of Tsuboi Shôgorô, known as one of the “fathers” of Japanese anthropology.
Shinryô was born in Takaoka, Etchû province, the second son of Sado Yôjun. He began studying medicine under Koishi Genzui in Kyoto in 1840, and later studied under Tsuboi Shindô in Edo and Ogata Kôan in Osaka, before being adopted by Tsuboi Shindô in 1844/9. He later served as domain physician and educator at the han school of Fukui han, under lord of Fukui, Matsudaira Shungaku, before becoming an assistant scholar at the Tokugawa shogunate’s Bansho shirabesho. He became a physician in service to the shogunate in 1864, and was shortly afterwards bestowed the title of hôgen.
Shinryô established the first medical magazine in Japan in 1873, the Waran iji zasshi, and published a number of other works as well over the course of his career. The magazine lasted 43 issues, ending in December 1875. Meanwhile, Shinryô was named head of the Tokyo Prefectural Hospital in December 1874, and retired three years later.

Noble saber (Peudeuëng) from Aceh / Atjeh

Next to the very distinctive Sikin and Rencong from Aceh there is another weapon that is directly linked to Aceh but only for those of noble status and in the status variation (so with gold and diamonds) only for those closely connected to the Sultan of Aceh.

Longer weapons of all kinds were named pedang in Indonesia. On Sumatra in the Aceh region the local name was Peudeuëng which was used only for an extra long type of sabre in the Indian Tulwar style.

The noble (status) variation has a few very distinctive differences, The steel handle has a woven (teurhat) silver cover (kabat). The style of weaving can help determine the age but they are basically all 19th century or earlier. The top of the handle has a gold cover (crown) which in this case has also rough diamonds (inten) and enamel work as often seen on status rencong and sikins.

One of the most famous versions of this weapon is the version of Teukeu Umar that is currently in the Bronbeek collection. That version also has a golden cover of the entire handle which signifies an even higher status!

Photo of Teukeu Umar and his followers with behind him a status Peudeung and many other notable status weapons (photo from the collection of the Tropenmuseum, taken from Wikipedia).

The blades are often longer than 80cms (total length around 100 cms) and always flexible in a high quality damascus steel. Probably most often if not always the blades are imported.

High quality, flexible blade with multiple grooves making it lighter and stronger!

This example came from the collection of Karsten Sjer Jensen (writer of the famous Krisdisk). If the number 8 which can be seen both on the handle and the sheath was put there by him is unknown.

Number 8 on handle and sheath

The entire quality of blade, handle and goldwork make these weapons very rare and collectable today!

Sources: Catalogus Museum Bronbeek, Het verhaal van Indie, deel 1