This print depicts Banda Aceh in the 1750’s with Dutch East India Company ships in the foreground. This panoramic view shows the early settlements amongst the rice fields.
The print was produced by Jacques Nicolas Bellin a French hydrographer, geographer and member of the French intellectual group called the philosophes and when this print was made, he was head of the French Hydrographic Office.
After the Portuguese occupation of Malacca in 1511, many Islamic traders passing the Malacca Straits shifted their trade to Banda Aceh and increased the region’s wealth. Aceh eventually became allies with the Ottoman Empire and the Dutch East India Company in their struggle against the Portuguese and the Johor Sultanate.
In the 1820s Ache became the producer of over half the world’s supply of black pepper. By the early nineteenth century, Aceh had become an increasingly influential power due to its strategic location for controlling regional trade. Today, Aceh is a special region of Indonesia and its capital is Banda Aceh. Its population has the highest percentage of Muslims in Indonesia, who mostly live according to Sharia customs and laws.
Use of Sharia Law in Southeast Asia:
- Light Blue – Choice between sharia and secular courts, only on personal status issues
- Yellow – Sharia applies in personal status issues only
- Purple – The area of Ache, where Sharia applies in full, including criminal law
- Title: Aceh Print
- Author: Jacques Nicolas Bellin, 1703-1772
- Dates: 1550’s
- Published: Paris
- Material: Paper
- Museum: National Museum of Singapore
“A given excuse that was not asked for, implies guilt.” Singaporean / Malay Proverb
Photo Credit: By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons