Snapshot diplomacy
Photographic encounters between Dutch and Indonesian royals
in Photographic subjects
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This chapter examines diplomatic relations between the Dutch monarchy and the rulers of Central Java’s so-called ‘Princely States’ which had, since the 1830s, effectively been vassals to the Dutch crown. Just as Queen Wilhelmina never toured her colonies, Central Java’s royals avoided travelling to the Dutch court, and instead used photographs to negotiate their representations to the Dutch monarchy. Pakubuwono X, Hamengku Buwono VIII and Pakualam VII sent luxurious photograph albums featuring themselves and/or their courts as gifts to Queen Wilhelmina and Crown Princess Juliana to mark royal milestones. This chapter reveals how these Javanese kings and princes exerted the power of refusal in not meeting Dutch monarchs in person, instead using photographs to present themselves as modern, innovative rulers with formidable dynasties and impressive courts.

Photographic subjects

Monarchy and visual culture in colonial Indonesia


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