This antique chromolithograph of a Chinese neighborhood in Batavia shows the hustle and bustle of the metropole. Chinese traders have sailed to South East Asia since the Hindu-Buddhist period and were perhaps the first settlers to establish a continued presence in Indonesia. Chinese-style houses line the streets and a gas lamp can be seen on the right-hand side of the lithograph.
Published in Leiden, the Netherlands, after a water drawing by J.C. Rappard,
Jhr. Josias Cornelis Rappard (1824-1898) was a colonel in the KNIL and a painter. During his posting in the Netherlands Indies 1842-1872, he painted and drew pictures of life and scenes in the Indies that were later, back in Leiden, The Netherlands, would be made into chromolithographs. The Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam holds a large number of these prints and collectors all over the world appreciate Rappard's classic watercolours.
Chromolithography was a popular method for colour printing in the 19th century because of its lower cost and relative ease to mass-produce. The process involves the use of stones and a chemical process to fasten images to the paper. High-end chromolithographs are hand-finished by an artist after the process to ensure the best possible fidelity in each copy.