This Dutch East Indies five guilder banknote from 1939 was designed by the Dutch art nouveau artist Carel Adolph Lion Cachet.
Carel Adolph Lion Cachet (1864-1945) was one of the pioneers of the Dutch Art Nouveau movement. He was the first Dutch artist to master batik in 1891 and the first to apply this Indonesian textile dyeing technique to other materials, such as parchment. But Lion Cachet was probably best known for his lavish interior designs for the passenger ships of Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland (SMN) and Koninklijke Paketvaart-Maatschappij (KPM). These steamships that sailed to Java and the other islands were very luxuriously furnished and looked on the inside more like posh hotels than ships.
In 1928 Lion Cachet made a tour with the SMN to the Dutch East Indies. Together with his wife and daughter he visited Sumatra, Java and Bali. From this trip he took home several souvenirs, such as ikat and batik textiles and ceremonial daggers (keris), which he could use for his own designs. In 1930 he received the important assignment from the Javasche Bank to design a new series of banknotes for the Dutch East Indies.
Wayang wong performers
Wayang wong players from the courts of Solo and Yogyakarta are depicted on the banknotes. These royal dancers were chosen by the bank to emphasize its important status as the first bank of the Dutch East Indies.
The five guilder banknote shows a nobleman from Solo with a richly decorated dancing crown that is worn during the Wayang Wong performance. The back is decorated with an oriental guilloche ornament.
The ten guilder note shows a nobleman and princess from Solo with beautiful headdresses, surrounded by ornate border ornaments. The reverse shows the royal sawat motif, a stylized Garuda bird. Lion Cachet copied this Javanese motif from a batik sarong from the collection of the Colonial Institute in Amsterdam.
Lion Cachet also made designs for the 25, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 guilder notes, which are also decorated with Wajong Wong players. The reverse sides contain all kinds of Indonesian ornaments such as batik, ikats, temple bells and architectural motifs.