Cawan Perak

Silver, Riau or Malay Peninsula, Early 20th C

The art of Malay’s silverware is a result of over 500 years of cultural assimilation between Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and local culture. Old Malay silversmiths were succeeded in combining the beauty and the aesthetics of Hindu and Buddhist art with the Malay Islamic custom and tradition. Unlike brass or bronze utensils that were widely used by the commoner for daily use, Malay’s silverwares like “dulang” or tray, “mangkuk jerelok” or bowl and “pahar” or pedestal tray were used by the nobility and wealthy family to conduct important events like wedding ceremonies and official feasts. During these events, Mangkuk Jerelok and Pahar were usually used as a potpourri’s container.

“Awan Kalok Paku” Motif

Even by modern standard, antique Malay’s silverwares are difficult to make. This silver pedestal tray for example, it was hand beaten into a very thin shaped bowl before decorated with 3 dimensional carving resembling curving ferns or “Awan Kalok Paku”. Beside the high production costs, not many silversmiths possess this smithing skill anymore.

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