Inventory no.: 1416

Mount Salak Colonial Painting, Indonesia


Oil Painting of Mt Salak with Post-Krakatoa Sunset, Java, Indonesia

Colonial School

dated 1887

dimensions (without frame): 29.5cm x 12.5cm

This very fine, small oil-on-board painting, signed indistinctly, but clearly dated 1887 and titled ‘Mt Salar’ (sic) is of the twin-cratered Mount Salak (Gunung Salak in Indonesian), which is part of an eroded mountain range in West Java.

The mountain’s name ‘salak’ is a reference to the scaly-skinned fruit, the salak, which is indigenous to Indonesia, or, according to the local Sundanese people, it is derived from the word ‘salaka’, which is Sanskrit for ‘silver’.

The painting is particularly fine and shows abundant tropical vegetation before the mountain which has been painted against a fiery sunset. The nearby volcanic island of Krakatoa had erupted in 1883 in one of the largest volcanic eruptions in modern history. The eruption and the enormous quantity of dust and debris that was spewed into the atmosphere as a consequence disrupted world weather conditions at least until 1888 and produced brilliant sunsets in the region for years. It is likely that this painting actually records a post-Krakatoa sunset.


UK art market

Inventory no.: 1416