Strolling around the Ethnographic Museum at Artis, Amsterdam’s zoo, Gerrit Willem Dijsselhof fell in love with the batik sarongs and baby slings from the Dutch East Indies. The cloths inspired him to experiment with this technique, involving a design drawn in wax on a piece of fabric, which is then dye-resistant. This results in flat, graphic forms. After a lot of experiments, Dijsselhof succeeded in making batik designs in a large format. For this screen, made of sumptuous silk stretched over an oak frame, he created two exotic worlds, taking inspiration from Japanese woodcuts, with their stylized representations of flora and fauna, and from his impressions of the zoological garden. On one side, Dijsselhof painted his jaunty guinea fowls, described by the monthly illustrated magazine Elsevier’s Geïllustreerd Maandschrift at the time as, “earnestly pecking away, or turning their necks to spy and peer around the tree”. The other side of the screen, with its swirling display of monkeys, pelicans, foxes and flamingos, has unfortunately been lost.


Translated title




Production date

bespanning 1894, omlijsting ca. 1900-1902


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199 x 245 x 19.5cm.


room screen, carved oak frame and batiked cotton

Object number

KNA 115


schenking / gift of the Nederlandse Maatschappij voor Nijverheid en Handel

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