Cynthia Vialle, born in Paramaribo, Surinam, in 1953. M.A. from the University of Amsterdam. Researcher of the History of European Expansion at Leiden University.
Junior Fellow (1 September 2009 – 31 January 2010)
THE ROLE OF DIPLOMATIC GIFTS IN THE DISPERSION OF NETHERLANDISH ART AND CRAFTS IN ASIA IN THE EARLY MODERN PERIOD
As a member of the theme group on the reception of Netherlandish art and culture in Asia, it was my task to research the Dutch East India Company’s (VOC) gift-giving in Asia, in particular the share of Netherlandish art and craft objects among the gifts. Gift-giving is a broad subject and the archives of the VOC, from which my data are taken, are vast. Having collected most of the required data over many years before my stay at NIAS, I was able to make a survey of the kind of gifts presented; the role of gift-giving within the various Asian systems in which the VOC traded; whether the gifts were eisen (orders); and give some telling examples of appreciation and rejection, and appropriation of the Dutch gifts. I also presented two papers on Japanese export lacquer (the subject of my thesis) at conferences in London and Tokyo.