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The highly sculptural, decorative nature of this item hides its utilitarian purpose – it is a noodle maker from 19th century Burma.
Cast in bronze using the lost-wax process it comprises a wide cylinder, open at both ends, and with two ‘S’ shaped handles to either side in the form of Burmese naga serpents. The body is further decorated with three bands of plaited motifs.
Interchangeable discs with different sized holes would have been dropped into the base according to the shape and thickness of the noodles required. The noodle dough (typically made from rice flour) would then have been forced through the cylinder and extruded out the other end through the perforated disc thereby making noodles.
This example retains one original perforated disc.
Only one such other noodle maker, in a private San Francisco collection, is believed to have been illustrated: in Fraser-Lu (1994, plate 25).
The example here is in excellent condition and with a fine surface patina.
Fraser-Lu, S., Burmese Crafts: Past and Present, Oxford University Press, 1994.