Bothekan Candi

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Java, Dutch East Indies , late 19th C 

The growing wealth and prosperity among the Peranakan Chinese in the 19th-century Dutch East Indies have led to an increased demand for household furnitures made by the Peranakan’s workshops. These Peranakan Chinese furniture-maker have distinguished themselves from their mainland Chinese counterparts by using material from indigenous wood such as Teak, which is an uncommon material in Mainland China, to create gilded bright colored furnitures favored by the Chinese Peranakans.

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This bothekan candi was used as a jewelry box by a Peranakan Nyonya

There is a rare type of Peranakan bride’s dowry furniture called “Bothekan Candi” like this particular example, used only by the wealthy Peranakan Chinese Families in Java. Its name refers to the stepped roofs of Hindu-Budhist temples in Java. Usually a “Bothekan Candi” consists of five stackable boxes with a Lotus or a Foo Dog carving on top of it. All of the four sides of a “Bothekan Candi” were usually  carved with delicate flowers and dragons carvings. This bothekan candi was most probably commisioned by a Peranakan family that has a deeply rooted Chinese-Javanese culture.

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