Leeuwarden, July 13 – September 13, 1973, The Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics invited Prof. Abu Ridho in highest honor to evaluate and research Chinese and Southeast Asian ceramics, bronzes and sculptures that are preserved in The Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics – Leeuwarden – Netherlands. Together with Mr. Jaap Romein, a Director of the Museum, Mr. Abu Ridho researched and evaluated the largest collection of Asian arts in the Netherlands, now is preserved in this museum.
Located in beautiful historic town of Leeuwarden in Friesland province that delivers as a place for inspiration and surprise, The Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics founded 1693 AD in historical building, the museum exhibits many historical value dating civilizations back from 2800 BC to the 20th century. It holds historical significance and is representative of Asian society’s culture in Europe..
There are some museums have a large Asian art collection in the world, but how many museums have successfully preserved a rich Asian civilization throughout its existence.? Not all museums have focused on research and evaluation in past Asian and European civilizations context. Many of them have more relied on its aesthetics value and subjective opinions on its authenticity. Mr. Abu Ridho and Mr. Jaap Romein researched and evaluated it far beyond. They did not just deliver its aesthetics value by delivering systematic evaluation, but they also described it comprehensively based on the lifestyle of people and empires of respective artifact from different times in history from their social organizations, economic life and religious views and practices. There is no doubt that some artifacts and arts in The Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics have totally beyond people’s comprehension.
In early 17th century, Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie; VOC) strived to control all territories in Java by conquering Batavia (Jakarta). Batavia became the focal point of Asian trade under VOC. VOC controlled all trade zones and distributions of spices and other commodities from and to Southeast Asian Countries, China and Europe. The Dutch Republic and VOC were the wealthiest and most powerful for the leading trade and banking throughout Europe at that time. As the result, many Europe traders and countries were jealous of Dutch’s success. As Mr. Jaap Romein stated, “There were massive Asian art collections from Batavia and Java acquired by VOC and Dutch officials to be shipped to Europe countries.” Mr. Abu Ridho also affirmed, “According to VOC archives, there were millions of Chinese ceramics unloaded in Batavia ports each year, and some of them were then distributed to Europe countries.”
Therefore, with rich cultural and historical context, it is not possible to ascertain accurately the authenticity of Chinese ceramic art merely relied on always personal judgments and its aesthetics. It requires an objective standard that can be defined through a set of characteristics, historic, culture, politics and aesthetic principles connected to the respective pieces. For Abu Ridho, Asian art object is another way to be able to use our judgment and use it to reveal past art eclectic, culture it represents, and history from which it was found.
For his 60 days research and evaluation, Abu Ridho was delightful to meet various people around the world during his experience in the Asian art world. Art is imbedded deep within human culture and has been around since nearly the beginning of humankind. His eyes serve a much higher destination than to view an art object, the absorptions of electromagnetic waves allows him to endeavor on a journey and enter a world of no limitation.
EVENT: Research and Evaluation: Collections of Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics
DATE: July 13 – September 13, 1973.
PARTICIPANTS: Prof. Abu Ridho & Mr. Jaap Romein, a Director of The Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics – Leeuwarden – Netherlands.
HOSTED: The Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics
VENUE: Postbus 1239 8900 CE Leeuwarden – Netherlands.