The cornerstone of our museum
The Japanese collection forms the cornerstone of this museum. Thanks to the purchase of collections amassed by medical doctor and academic P.F von Siebold and others, the museum was able to build up a Japanese collection that is unrivalled anywhere in the world. A unique aspect of this collection is that it offers a comprehensive picture of Japanese society in the early nineteenth century.
The Dutch in Japan
Here you can see household utensils such as tools, but also sophisticated lacquer work, screens, prints and the large, scale model of the artificial island in Deshima Bay that functioned as a trading post for the Dutch to do business with Japan. Little clay pipes from Gouda and pottery shards bear silent witness to the Dutch presence. What happened exactly? The whole story is revealed here.
Striking highlights include a Korean officer’s greatcoat and helmet, of which there are only a few remaining extant throughout the world. The garments here are possibly the only clothes of comparable quality in the entire world. The coat and helmet were acquired during the period that Korea aimed to reform its army along western lines, in the late nineteenth century. The bright red wool and blue silk lining and the edging of otter fur give the garment a rich feel that is further emphasised by the glittering metal scales varnished by turn in black, red and gold.