Three figures are depicted above the windows. To the left is Mercury, the Roman god of commerce, with his staff. He stands for energy and intellect, both qualities are presumed necessary for succesful trade.
An Indonesian woman sits to the right with a winnowing basket and rice harvesting knife. She represents traditional agriculture. Rice cultivation in the archipelago was a very profitable endeavour; the Zaanstreek (Zaan region) of North Holland also featured several rice hulling plants. The Koloniaal Instituut worked to improve knowledge of rice production and similar processes to allow more crops to be grown, sold and exported.
The image implies that this occurred with boundless dedication under the guidance of Science, the godlike central third figure, and the object of the other two’s gazes. The contemporary relationships are clear: the masculine, active and intellectual Europe once again dominates the feminine, passive and traditional Indies.