From where do we source our items? We do not go on buying trips to Asia. Nor do we actively buy from dealers or suppliers based in Asia. We do not source items from Indonesia or Malaysia for example. Almost all the items stocked by Michael Backman Ltd have been sourced from the UK - from old collections. Countless items were brought to the UK during the colonial era by colonial administrators and the like. Other items were made in Asia for export to the UK – the UK was wealthy early: it has been a major destination for the world’s exports for hundreds of years. This means that most of our items have been in the UK for at least sixty to two hundred years.
The conditions in which they have been kept often has been very good – the climate is kind, and there are relatively few pests. Many items were acquired as keepsakes and curios, meaning that they stopped being used once they came to the UK. This too has helped to preserve them and their conditions often are far better than had they remained in their home countries. Buying from old UK sources means that the items have good provenance; it helps to avoid fakes, and items that have been amended or embellished. It also means that our items are obtained legally – today, most countries in Asia prohibit the export of their antiques. So, because of its colonial past, the UK is perhaps the world’s biggest source of genuine antiques from Asia, perhaps more so than Asia itself, and that is the source into which we tap.
All the items on this page are available for sale. We are based in central London, but sell to clients around the world. Want to enquire about an item on this page? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Signed Dutch Colonial Silver Betel Box Batavia, Dutch East Indies 18th century Inventory no.: 1718 RESERVED More images & information
Magnificent Carved Horn & Wood Piso Sanalenggam Sword Pakpak Batak People, North Sumatra, Indonesia 19th century Inventory no.: 1849 More images & information
Silver & Ivory Hilt Piso Gading Sword Toba Batak People, North Sumatra, Indonesia 19th century Inventory no.: 1848 More images & information
Kris Tajong with Zoomorphic Carved Wooden Hilt Kelantan, Malaysia, or Southern Thailand 19th century Inventory no.: 1840 More images & information
Royal Princely Heirloom Kris Palace of Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia late 19th century & 16th-18th century Inventory no.: 1899 More images & information
Exceptionally Rare Kris with Carved Ivory Hilt and Mataram-era ‘Singa’ Blade Overlaid with Gold and a Ruby Sumatra/Java, Indonesia 17th and 18th-19th centuries Inventory no.: 1900 More images & information
Kris with Silver-Gilt Encased Scabbard with Carved Marine Ivory Jawa Demam-style Hilt Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia 19th century Inventory no.: 1908 More images & information
Golok Sword with Horn, Bone Hilt & Silver Mounts West Java, Indonesia 19th century Inventory no.: 1938 More images & information
Highly Unusual Kris with Ebony Scabbard and Hilt Carved as a Dutch Resident, and with a Jawi Inscription Madura, Indonesia circa 1820 Inventory no.: 2010 More images & information