This large silver or silver alloy bowl is very unusual because, along with the usual scrolling plant motifs, it is engraved with six panels of wayang (leather shadow puppet) characters. We are aware of only one other bowl similarly engraved.
Such bowls are thought of generally as coming from the Riau area of Sumatra or even the Malay Peninsula but the wayang figures themselves seem more Javanese. Their presence on the bowl presents a conundrum: was this type of silver made in Riau and the Malay Peninsula only or was it also made on Java?
The bowl itself is wide and deep. It sits on a flared ring foot. It is engraved and chased all over. The base also is engraved with a roundel infilled with foliate scrolling.
The bowl has obvious age. It has been hammered finely, and has a few minor age-related dents and so on, but is stable and impressive for its size.
Jasper, J.E. & Pirngadie, De Inlandsche Kunstnijverheid in Nederlandsch Indie V: de Bewerking van Niet-Edele Metalen, 1930.