4519

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Silver Lidded Bowl

Malay People, Riau or Southern Malay Peninsula
circa 1900

height: 16.3cm, diameter: 21.4cm, weight: 506g

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Provenance

UK art market

This attractively proportioned bowl is from the Malay people of the Malay Peninsula or the Riau archipelago which is part of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

It is of finely hammered sheet silver. It has a domed lid surmounted by a gadrooned finial. The base and cover are decorated with dozens of raised panels decorated with a lotus seed pod and two buds. The motifs are unusual for Sumatran or Malay silver.

A bowl of similar proportions and form is illustrated in Brinkgreve & Sulistianingsih (2009, p. 141) where it is described as a rice bowl (wadah nasi) and attributed to Riau.

Such silver has a low weight for its size – it is most probably the result of a client taking some silver to a silversmith and commissioning a piece of silver as large as he could make it given the silver he has been allocated for the purpose. It is designed to be looked at and admired – perhaps by guests at a Malay wedding.

This example is in fine condition. There is minor creasing to the silver on the edge of the cover, on account of it having been hammered so fine, but otherwise, there are no dents, splits or repairs. It is a particularly attractive example of Malay silverware.

References

Brinkgreve, F,. & R. Sulistianingsih (eds), Sumatra: Crossroads of Cultures, KITLV Press, 2009.

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