Japan became a major influence on northern European art and design at the end of the 19th century, when a craze for ‘all things Japanese’ (Japonism) swept across Europe. The influence of this movement can be seen in artworks by Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, James Whistler and Gustav Klimt, as well as interior design and furniture.
Garments based on Japanese kimonos became popular for fashionable women to wear at home (compare the French word 'japon' for a woman's dress). Japanese textiles designed for the Western market became popular and included items such as lingerie bags, in which ladies kept silk underwear, stockings and handkerchiefs. Many items in this exhibition reflect this continuing fascination with Japan.
Indonesian textiles were exported to The Netherlands during the period of Dutch colonial rule from the seventeenth century onwards. Some textiles arrived in the form of presents and souvenirs, others as commercial exports of household items and garments. Some textiles retained their original Indonesian forms, others were adaptations of Dutch forms produced using Indonesian techniques, such as Dutch lions and naval anchors worked in ikat.