Deshima Oranda Yashiki kei [Map of the Dutch Residence at Deshima]. DESHIMA, Bunjiemon TOSHIMAYA.

Deshima Oranda Yashiki kei [Map of the Dutch Residence at Deshima].

Nagasaki: Toshimaya, dated An'ei 9, i.e. 1780.

Woodblock print measuring 550 x 420 mm., with highlights in contemporary handcolouring; in an excellent modern frame.

The earliest printed view of Deshima island, reserved for the VOC traders

Rare and beautiful bird's-eye view of Deshima island in the bay of Nagasaki, the compound reserved for traders of the VOC or Dutch East India Company. This is the earliest such view in printed format. This print is also especially interesting as the first recorded Nagasaki-e (pictures from Nagasaki prefecture depicting foreigners) to have been brought to Europe: Titsingh (1745-1812) published a version of it in his Illustrations of Japan (1822).

Rare and beautiful bird's-eye view of Deshima island in the bay of Nagasaki, the compound reserved for traders of the VOC or Dutch East India Company. This is the earliest such view in printed format. This print is also especially interesting as the first recorded Nagasaki-e (pictures from Nagasaki prefecture depicting foreigners) to have been brought to Europe: Titsingh (1745-1812) published a version of it in his Illustrations of Japan (1822).

The Dutch traders of the VOC reluctantly admitted to Nagasaki in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries were confined to the island in the harbour. Only about 200 by 80 metres, it had originally been set aside for the Portuguese as a compromise allowing them to be in Japan but preventing their propagation of Christianity. By this period the minute island was shared between Dutch and Chinese trading houses. The Dutch merchants of the VOC would have been exotic figures: their confinement to Deshima meant that they would barely have been seen by most residents of Nagasaki, let alone other Japanese of the period. The depiction of these exotic foreigners in the Japanese decorative arts began in the eighteenth century, and as well as prints and paintings it can be seen in porcelain by the Imari potters.

To enter the artificial island visitors had to pass over a small wooden bridge and undergo a search at a well-guarded gate. To the right of the bridge one can clearly make out the famous wooden tablets (seisatsu-ba) protected in a wooden shelter which stipulated the rules for access to the island as well as threatened punishment to those who contravened the rules or failed to inform the authorities of a transgression.

The print is remarkable for its attention to detail: it shows the living-quarters, storehouses, vegetable plots, guard-houses at each corner of the island, the bath-house, a dovecote, translators' offices, the stables (together with a scene showing the efforts to move an obstinate cow into its shed), the kitchen, as well as the various groups of people who lived on, or had access to the island. Deshima was usually inhabited by no more than twelve to fifteen people, most of whom can be identified in the print: the 'opperhoofd' with his Javanese servant holding an umbrella; a Dutchman smoking a pipe; courtesans; the translators; the Japanese guards; as well as other Dutch company servants (one of them doing the washing just to the right of the entrance).

The text to the left of the bridge gives the dimensions of the island: South-eastern side 35 ken, top-side 118 ken, north-western side 35 ken, bottom-side 96 ken (one ken = six feet). The text in the top left corner records the arrival of the Dutch in Hirado during the Keicho period (1602) and their settlement under the patronage of the Daimyo Matsuura, Hizen-no-kami. The inscription in the bottom right-hand corner records that the island was constructed in 1636 from reclaimed land for the use of the Nanban-jin (Southern barbarians, i.e. the Portuguese). As a result of the anti-Christian laws of 1637 the Portuguese were expelled and instead the Dutch were moved from Hirado to Nagasaki in 1641. This fact is stated in the text at the bottom left-hand corner together with the observation that the Dutch have visited Nagasaki regularly for the last one hundred and forty-five years.

Provenance: With Maggs Bros London in 2002; private collection (Sydney).

See C.R. Boxer, Jan Compagnie in Japan, 1936, p. 77ff.; N.H.N. Mody, Nagasaki Colour Prints and Paintings, 1939, pl. 32; W. van Gulik, Nederlanders in Nagasaki, 1998, p. 36 & plate 8 (reproducing a slightly variant uncoloured version of the view).

Price (AUD): $15,000.00  other currencies     Ref: #4505066

Condition Report