This painting, Taiwan xinglu Tu (Portrait of seeking pleasure in Taiwan), whose creator remains unknown, was uncovered from the private collection of the descendants of Zheng Cong, Koxinga’s second son. It now belongs to the Zheng Chenggong Memorial hall in Xiamen. According to one study, the people enjoying the natural scenery and river in the painting form the core of Taiwan’s collective leadership after Koxinga’s death in 1662. In the foreground, Zheng Jing dressed in the dark blue robe, stands together with Feng Xigan. Behind then Jing’s son, Keshuang, clad in light blue is shown playing chess with Chen Yonghua. This painting probably drawn after 1680 represents the first known piece of Chinese visual art in Taiwan.
Taiwan xinglu Tu (Portrait of seeking pleasure in Taiwan)
Taiwan xinglu Tu (Portrait of seeking pleasure in Taiwan). Special thanks to Professor Nie Dening of Xiamen University.
In 1662, a grand embassy from Taiwan arrived in Ayutthaya in Siam. Dispatched by Zheng Chenggong, a famed Chinese maritime commander also known as Koxinga, it carried with it letters, lavish gifts and, most important, news. Landing in the bustling port city, the ambassador announced the “scandalous surrender of the famous island Formosa” and its supposedly “unconquerable fort Zeelandia”, which had fallen to Zheng troops just a few months earlier. The arrival of the embassy opened up another front in the ferocious commercial, diplomatic and military struggle that was being waged between the Zheng maritime network and the Dutch East India Company across East and Southeast Asia.
Rapport van Van Rijk
And second, a large Chinese junk of the Mandarin Koxinga, with an ambassador with letters and very great presents from Koxinga to this king from Taiwan has appeared, bringing [the news of] our scandalous surrender of the renowned island Formosa and the presumed invincible fort Zeelandia. Such enormous fortune of the company [got in]to Koxinga’s hands, without the courage [of ours] to sit out the storm, has brought us no small obstruction in the Japanese trade and extreme disrespect here at court as it will be spoken of here at some point. Thirdly the equipment of two large junks of the king, that will go to Japan in the name of the Moors okya Phichit despite the Siamese being banned by Japan, and two equal junks and a small ship to Canton.
Rapport van Van Rijk aen haer Ed. tot Batavia overgelevert den 3 November 1662, Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, access number 1.04.02, Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC), hereafter: NL-HaNA, VOC, inventory 1240: 1489v.
The captain of the Company in Japan reverently informs the Nagasaki governor, Matsendeyro Sinsabrodonnem [Matsudaira Jinzaburō松平甚三郎], that in the previous year the Company has been done great violence by Piauwja, who is a follower of Coxinga, in Cambodia. This included the murder of the captain of the Hollanders as well as a number of other people, the plundering and subsequently the burning of the lodge. This was respectfully informed to Your Honor after the arrival of the ship Schelvis last year. The Governor-General has learned this with great sorrow … So the Governor-General has given orders to the new captain when he departed [from Batavia] to ask you to [order] compensation [vergoedinge] from the Coxinga Chinese in Japan for past damages, abuse and arrogant scorn … We include a specification of the goods which have been plundered.
23 September 1668, Dagregister Ranst, NFJ 81, unfoliated.