NORTH BALINESE DRAWINGS IN THE VAN DER TUUK COLLECTION
LEIDEN UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
The collection, consisting of 310 sheets of paper with drawings, is numbered LOr. 3390, 1-307 and LOr. 17.994, 1-3.
The drawings were commissioned by Van der Tuuk ((1824-1894) between about 1880 and 1894. After his death they were bequeathed to the Leiden University Library. The numbers 1-307 received the stamp of the library, Acad.Lugd.Bat.Bibl,(Library of the Academy of Lugdunum Batavorum, the Latin name for Leiden) unfortunately quite often placed in the middle of the drawings on the recto side.
The three drawings (LOr. 17994, 1-3) were found later in a book auctioned in London. They are provided with notes in Dutch and English in the handwriting of Van der Tuuk. He may have sent these drawings to a linguist in Canterbury, Dr. R. Rost, with whom he corresponded between 1865 and 1879. Another possibility is that they were meant as illustrations for articles in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society in London. Trübner, the editor of the journal, was his contact (Hinzler 1986: 4).
The drawings were made by artists from various parts of Bali. We know the names and villages of origin of some of the artists, because they were written on the drawing paper. Of other drawings we can deduce, on the basis of stylistic characteristics, from which region of Bali the artists originate.
At least fourteen artists produced the drawings, ten of which were from North Bali. The name of one artist was discovered, thanks to a drawing made by W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp in 1905 and published in his book “Bali and Lombok” (1906-1910: 111). It is I Ketut Gede whom he met in Singaraja in 1904 (NION 1929: 14). He admitted that he had worked for Van der Tuuk. It turned out that this man had made a particular drawing for Van der Tuuk (LOr. 3390-185), a copy of which he kept in his domestic sanctuary. By means of comparison of style, I was able to ascribe a large group of drawings, at least 92, to this artist. I chose many of his drawings for the exhibition, because they are very well done. The human figures, partly in wayang style, partly in natural style, and the animals depicted are very much alive, and have the vigour of the style of North Bali. His skill in composition shows that he was used to painting on large objects, for instance on wood. A large drawing on wooden back piece of a balé, acquired by C.M. Pleyte for the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 shows the same hand of drawing as Ketoet Gedé according to me. It must have been bought on his trip to Bali around 1899. The caption of the photograph of the piece in the album published on the occasion of this event says: “from Bulèlèng” (Pleyte 1901: No. 48). It is probable that Ketoet Gedé worked for Van der Tuuk over a long period of time, in which he developed his style. The drawings are coloured, except for one sketch in pencil. He used water colours, bright and light magenta, and very often bright and very dark Bordeaux-red. Moreover, light and dark blue, brown, turquoise, white, grey, black and sometimes also gold leaf applied to representations of jewellery. He also often has a coloured background done in soft grey, green or blue, which is not found in traditional Balinese painting. In order to suggest the rounding of faces and limbs of human figures, he accentuated the outlines with a soft grey line.
For the exhibition I took a number of drawings of a second artist, No. 7, alas his name is not yet known. He worked in a flat style like that of wayang puppets. The artist did not make use of perspective in his drawings. The contours of the figures and the details of the clothes and jewellery are done in a very fine way. Much attention has been paid to the clothes, particularly, the sashes of the figures. They show the textiles fashionable at the end of the 19th century: flower patterns, checks, dots. This and the fact that the figures are placed not in a setting with trees, shrubs, rock ornaments, or pavilions, but mostly isolated on the paper, may indicate that the artist was a maker of wayang figures and that he was not used to drawing stories on large pieces of wood. He used bright colours, which are applied very thickly. It is probable that he used poster paint. He had a preference for violet and light violet, dark almond-green and a lighter green that tends to turquoise. He also uses red, bright pink, ochre, yellow, light grey, white, black and sometimes dark brown. He also painted dark outlines to suggest the rounding of the limbs and bodies of the figures. The artist apparently was ordered to draw figures from the Ramayana and Bharatayuddha. Fifteen of his drawings are scenes with a number of figures from the Ramayana, two represent the servants from the right and left parties, and in seventeen drawings figures from the Bharatayuddha are depicted. In these drawings only two figures are shown, facing each other. Interestingly in nine drawings two figures of the Korawa party, in seven drawings two figures of the Pandawa and in one drawing only a member of the Pandawa party faces a Korawa.
There are 183, probably 185 sheets with in total 200 or 202 drawings, some of them with more than one drawing on a sheet that can be ascribed to North Bali. Part of the drawings are done in black and grey ink, others have been coloured with gouache. Most of the drawings are provided with inscriptions in Balinese script. The texts inform us about the stories and the figures or objects depicted. The drawings may have been meant as illustrations of Van der Tuuk’s Kawi-Balinese-Dutch Dictionary (printed posthumously in four volumes between 1897 and 1912), because there are references in it ‘to the drawings’. He may have wanted to add ‘explanatory plates’ to his dictionary, as he had done in his Batak-Dutch Dictionary from 1861.
The subjects of the drawings are scenes from Old Javanese poems and prose works, Ramayana, Uttarakanda, Bharatayuddha, Arjunawiwaha, Adiparwa, Tantri, from Balinese poems, from daily life, and depictions of ornaments used in carvings in volcanic stone and wood. The style of the figures is linked to that of wayang puppets, the so-called wayang style. The backgrounds of some of the drawings are like those of the wayang style paintings on cloth, but a great number shows innovations, influenced by European paintings, drawings, engravings or prints.
The drawings are made on laid paper. The size of most of the paper is foolscap (about 34 x 43 cm). It almost always has marks (watermarks and countermarks). Some of them have dates. It is probable that Van der Tuuk himself gave the paper to the artists because for the transcriptions of most of the Old Javanese and Balinese texts copied by himself or by his scribes, he used the same paper as for the drawings. Paper was not yet commonly used by the Balinese at that time, and it was scarce. The pictures of the drawings shown at the exhibition are all but one made on paper by the factory of Jan, Claes and Aris van der Ley in Zaandijk (Voorn 1960). The watermark is a Dutch lion with a sword in a crowned medallion with an inscription. This is either “pro patria eendragt maakt magt” (abbreviated in my descriptions as Pro Patria) or “concordia res parvae crescunt” (abbreviated as Concordia). The countermark is in all cases “VdL”, which stands for Van der Ley. Paper with the watermark Concordia was produced after 1845. Of the other watermark, it is only known that it was available in the second half of the 19th century (Voorn 1960: 135). One drawing, LOr. 3390-54) has the coat of arms of Amsterdam as watermark and “Van Gelder” as countermark. This paper is from the Dutch factory of Van Gelder in Worms or Apeldoorn (Voorn 1960: 433-439, 488) and it was produced at the end of the 19th century.
All drawings from the Van der Tuuk Collection have been described and depicted in two volumes by H.I.R. Hinzler in 1986-7.
Hinzler, H.I.R., Catalogue of Balinese Manuscripts in the library of the University of Leiden and other collections in The Netherlands, Vol. I and II, Reproductions and Descriptions of the Balinse drawings from the Van der Tuuk Collection, E.J. Brill/Leiden University Press, Leiden 1986 & 1987.
Nieuwenkamp, W.O.J., Bali en Lombok, 3 Vols., Zwerver Uitgave, Edam, 1906-1910.
Nieuwenkamp, W.O.J., ,Schetsen van Bali, Nederlandsch-Indië Oud en Nieuw (NION) 14: 67-78, 1929.
Pleyte, C.M,, Indonesian Art. Selected Specimens of Ancient and Modern Art and Handwork from the Dutch-Indies Archipelago,The Hague, 1901.
Voorn, H., De Papiermolens in de Provincie Noord-Holland. De Geschiedenis van de Papierindustrie, I, Meyer, Wormerveer, 1960.