440. Minangkabau Malay Brass Oil Container, Vase


Brass Oil Jar

Padang Highlands, Sumatra, Indonesia

circa 1900

height: 38cm

The large and impressive eight-sided lidded jar cast using the lost wax process is extravagantly decorated with numerous pairs of birds, centipedes and serpents amid dense tropical foliage and flowers. The jar stands on a flared octagonal foot, each side of which is cast with a stylised buffalo. The removable lid has also been cast with eight sides and is similarly decorated. It sits within the neck of the jar.

Such jars were used for storing cooking oil that probably was sourced from coconuts.

Such jars are rare nowadays and rank among the more elaborate and impressive pieces of Malay brassware.

This example has a beautiful chocolate patina.

A jar of similar form, dimensions and decoration is in the collection of the National Museum of Singapore.


the National Museum of Singapore oil jar is illustrated in Singh, B., Malay Brassware, National Museum of Singapore, 1985, p. 28 (full page, colour illustration.)

See more Malay brassware


.Inventory no. 440