The Poor Man's Gold by Joost van Bleiswijk
by sabine7 / April 29, 2010

Kiki van Eijk's Zuiderzee Settings was accompanied by Joost van Bleiswijk's The Poor Man's Gold installation about the spice trade, as part of the Zuiderzee Museum exhibition. Based on the voyages of the Dutch East India Company throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the exhibition of mahogany veneered chests and earthenware is an interpretation of Dutch colonial history.

Artist: Joost van Bleiswijk

The Dutch East India trade missions sailed from Enkhuizen, home to the Zuiderzee Museum, and van Bleiswijk's chests are in reference to classic historical themes of "the battle of good and evil, prosperity and poverty, and to robbing or being robbed."

Earthenware vessels with a hand-scratched top glaze represented the spice pots, the mortar and pestle used to grind the lucrative spices, and the pepper mill.

Each piece of earthenware bears a logo that resembles the original Dutch East India Company logo: VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or United East Indian Company). But look closely and you'll see that this modern-day monogram is that of Joost van Bleiswijk.


Again, a fascinating installation thanks to the combination of craftsmanship and historical value. The age-old story of economics and migration comes home to roost in a 21st century design interpretation.


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