Johan Nieuhof (1618 - 1672)

Nieuhof worked for the VOC (Dutch East India Company) 1660 -1667 in India, Ceylon and Batavia until 1670. The VOC unsuccessfully tried to break the Portuguese monopoly on trade to Macau so they sent four embassies to Beijing between 1655 and 1685. As purser of the VOC-embassy to Peking Johan Nieuhof in 1655 had special instructions to observe all “farms, towns, palaces, rivers, …” that he might pass by, drawing them “in straight form and figure”. The pictures from these reports encouraged chinoiserie, which became especially popular in the 18th century.

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