The axiom ‘clothes make the man’ also held true in Indonesia. These
are not actual portraits, but ‘types’.
The accurately rendered garments and batik motifs indicate not only
the region from which these men came, they also provide information about their rank and status.
These resolute, confident figures
are exceptional and were probably
painted by a non-Western artist.
In European depictions,
Indonesians were usually depicted
as adversaries, colonial subjects
or ‘innocent’ primitives.