5296

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Fine Malay Basket

Malay People, Malay Peninsula, Malaysia
early 20th century (collected around 1930)

height: 11cm, diameter: 18cm

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Provenance

collected by Alwyn Sidney Haynes (1878-1963), and thence by descent. Haynes was a colonial administrator in Malaya and the Straits Settlements between 1901 and 1934. He held many posts including Acting British Resident, Pahang (1924); British Resident, Perak (1925); British Advisor, Kedah (1925); British Advisor, Kelantan (1930); and Acting Colonial Administrator, Straits Settlements (1933), after which he retired and returned to England, and lived near Stratford-upon-Avon, and then in Leamington Spa. Haynes loaned some of the items he collected in Malaya to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford in 1939. He was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1950.

This beautiful, decorative basket was collected around 1930 or earlier by a colonial administrator who served on the Malay Peninsula.

It has a round top and a square base, and an open weave. It has been made from light bamboo strips and a thicker bamboo rim for support and structure.

The shape and open weave are reminiscent of a Malay fish trap, or perhaps the type of larger sieve-like basket that Malay women would use to wash vegetables in prior to cooking.

Basket work was still being done on the Malay Peninsula in the 20th century by Malay women working in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Malacca and Kedah.

It is probable that this basket is from Kelantan on the Malay Peninsula’s east coast, given its provenance.

The basket is in excellent condition. It has a fine patina and obvious age and yet has no imperfections or losses.

References

‘An Exhibition of Malay Arts and Crafts’, organised by the Malayan Agri-Horticultural Association, March 28-30, 1952.

Lau, A.T. & B. Platzdasch (eds.), Malay Heritage of Singapore, Suntree Media/Malay Heritage Foundation Singapore, 2010.

Malaysian Traditional Crafts, Urban Council, Hong Kong, 1981.

Sellato, B. (ed.), Plaited Arts from the Borneo Rainforest, NIAS Press, 2012.

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