Carved Wooden Cake Mould Tray
Straits Chinese, Singapore/Malaysia
dimensions: 37cm x 36cm, thickness: 4cm
This very fine example of a traditional wooden Chinese cake mould tray has superb patina. Most probably it is from one of the Straits Settlements of Singapore, Penang or Malacca and was used by the localised nonyas or Straits Chinese women. It is carved with nine separate cake moulds. Some are round with serrated edges. Others have scalloped edges. One is shaped as a leaf and another as a flower. Two are formed as stars and perhaps show a degree of Islamic-Malay influence.
Some of the moulds are for traditional mooncakes. Another, which has in Chinese script to the top of the cake a wish for many children, presumably is a wedding cake mould. And others wishing long life and prosperity most probably are for a variety of occasions including birthdays, All Soul’s Day, and Chinese New Year.
This example has a rich, brown patina with the outside contours rounded from wear and use. It is in fine condition and of good size, with decorative, sculptural value.
Ee, R., et al, Peranakan Museum A-Z Guide, Asian Civilisations Museum, 2008.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 1793
The reverse of the tray.