Cast Brass Rice Measure (Gantang)
length: 17cm, diameter: 18.4cm, weight: 2,168g
This brass rice measure is of wide, squat, cylindrical form, and with a handle to one side. It has been cast with a prominent cartouche filled with Jawi script (Arabic adapted for Malay) and a date which approximates to 1899-1900 in the Western calendar.
Similar examples are illustrated in Singh (1985, p. 36) and Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (2005, p. 205).
The measure was known as a
gantang and was used in Brunei in the 19th and early 20th centuries to measure padi rice. One gantang amounted to just over 4.5 litres of dry capacity.
The calligraphic panel, in cast high-relief, says:
Inilah gantang perintah Brunei al-malik al-‘adil tarikh fi sanat 1322, or ‘This is the gantang [officially] ordered [in] Brunei [by] the just ruler, dated the year 1322 (approximately 1899)’.
This example has an excellent honey-brown patina. The base has (very) old solder repairs which have themselves deep patina, suggesting that the measure was used and used.
Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, The Message and the Monsoon: Islamic Art of Southeast Asia, IAMM Publications, 2005.
Malay Brassware, National Museum of Singapore, 1985.Provenance:
UK art market
Inventory no.: 3281