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Two Malay Brass Water Jars with Lids
Sumatra/Malay Peninsular
late 19th century

height: 31.5 cm

These beautiful jars have long, narrow necks and have been cast with floral motifs within longitudinal bands. The shoulders of the jars are embellished with
triangular bamboo shoot (
pucuk rebung) motifs, these being identifying characteristics of Malay brassware but which are also commonly used in Malay textile
design and woodwork.

Both retain their original lids that have been cast with floral motifs and then gilded. Such jars were used for storing drinking water.

Overall, these jars or bottles are exceptional examples of Malay brass casting work. It is rare to find extant examples that still retain their lids.

References: A near-identical example is in the National Museum of Singapore Collection (catalogue no.B0194) and is illustrated in Singh, B., Malay
, National Museum of Singapore, 1985, p. 27. Another is illustrated in Lau, A.T. & B. Platzdasch (eds.), Malay Heritage of Singapore, Suntree
Media/Malay Heritage Foundation Singapore, 2010, p. 128.

Inventory no.: 321

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A related pair displayed in the Gemeentemuseum
in The Hague, the Netherlands, as part of the
'Asian Art and Dutch Taste' exhibition.
Photographed in September 2014.