18th Century lacquerware made in Japan for the European market, was probably exclusively exported by the Dutch East Indies Company via Deshima, which had the sole privilege of trade via Japan. Two chief merchants of Deshima, Mr. I. Titsingh and Baron Johan Frederick van Reede tot de Parkeler were especially interested in lacquerwork during the last quarter of the 18th Century. Around 1780 there was a sudden fashion for oval copper medallions covered with black lacquer and decorated in low relief with portraits in gold hiramaki-e. A hanging ring was fixed on a triangular support atop the medallions. Different series can be distinguished, for instance, series with portraits of famous Europeans based on prints from L'Europe Illustre compiled by Dreux du Radier (Paris, 1755-65) or series depicting Roman emperors, Governors-General of the VOC, illustrious Chinese, or Dutch admirals. The names of these famous men were usually written in Latin capitals around the rim. Captions that occur on the print are rendered in a shortened version on the back of the medallions. A number of existing portraits are signed and dated proving that they were made at Sasaya in Japan between 1787 and 1793. For further discussion of these medallions see: Oliver Impey, Christiaan Jörg, Japanese Export Lacquer 1580 -1850, Hotei Publishing, Amsterdam, 2005, p.48-52, p.216-217. The medallion of Herman Boerhaave and the matching copper engraving for example, are illustrated on p.49, pl.53, 54.