Heavy brass tray/stand - chased Hindu decoration

Discussion in 'Metalware' started by aaroncab, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. aaroncab

    aaroncab in veritate victoria

    This tray/stand is about 9"(23cm) wide the tray/dish is about 1" high and the feet add another 3/4" - fairly solid and heavy for it's size - 3lb 13oz - 1749 grams.

    The chased decoration is fairly detailed, for instance, the background texture is made from tiny chased/hammered circles that are about .5mm wide. The central character resembles (to me) perhaps an Indonesian Wayang puppet. There are also four 8 pointed stars or perhaps flowers, and four of what I believe to be Gandaberunda (2 headed bird). The outer rim is also decorated. Underneath is a bit unusual as there is a thicker disk of brass in the middle...not sure what purpose this serves?

    Any thoughts on the origin and age - and symbolism are welcome!

    Thanks for looking!

    45782917045_718879c2e6_odev.jpg 39733307753_e1ebe2eca9_odev_1.jpg 39737026593_6708fb8fa0_kdev.jpg 45973440604_c13920e0ba_odev.jpg 45973477344_33caf83e0a_odev.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  2. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    It is, these usually portray Arjuna, a hero from the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
    It was made in Java in the 1920s-30s, and could have been a tray for sirih (betel) paraphernalia.
    I'll elaborate later, if no one else has, but now I'm off to prepare dinner.:D
  3. aaroncab

    aaroncab in veritate victoria

    Looking forward to it, and please enjoy your dinner, no rush!
    Any Jewelry and i need help like this.
  4. i need help

    i need help Well-Known Member

    I’m only seeing 1 Wayang decorated bowl, made of silver and very different.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
    aaroncab likes this.
  5. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    as nice a tray as we've seen here...the work is highly detailed an masterfully done..
    Nice find !!!!!
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  6. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    It is a beautiful tray. We see these brass trays regularly here, but rarely as beautiful as this one.

    The Gandaberunda is specific of the Southwest Indian region of Karnataka. It is not known on Java or other Indonesian regions.
    The double-headed bird is a cross between a double-headed peacock and a double-headed garuda, and often interpreted as the latter. It is used a lot on items from Central Java, like on this formal keris sheath which once belonged to a Yogyakarta palace guard:


    Difficult to spot, it is somewhere in the centre:

    The stars are floral interpretations of Islamic stars, or even the Madura star, in which case there is a link with Madura. The fine detail of the design could indicate Madurese manufacture.
    The outer edge is decorated with tumpals, triangular shapes which are associated with divinity. The triangle is the mountain top, which is close to the heavens. Tumpals are overrepresented in Madurese art, so my Madurese suspicion is growing.;) But, ok, they are also seen on Java and Bali.

    In this link you can see a tray with the other pieces of the sirih set:
    Even though your tray was originally part of a set, it is beautiful on its own as well.

    And here is a range of Indonesian brass objects. The site is in Dutch, but beauty is universal:
  7. aaroncab

    aaroncab in veritate victoria

    AJ, once again your knowledge(and ability to expound/share it) astounds! The links you provided are great, I see how this tray would fit into a complete set now. And I definitely see the similarities to the Java brass. Maybe not possible to know for sure if it came from Madura, or from Java, but most likely one of those two - if I'm reading your comments correctly. Many thanks kind lady!
  8. springfld.arsenal

    springfld.arsenal Store: http://www.springfieldarsenal.net/

    Very nicely-worked tray, I look for nice trays and have never seen one like that, if u put it up 4 sale let me know.
    Mill Cove Treasures and aaroncab like this.
  9. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    And me, please!:)
    (hoping the shipping cost isn't astronomical)

    By the way, I just noticed the wayang puppet has a 'badong' or wing on his back. I have a puppet with that, he is called satriyo, which just means knight. This one also has a keris.:happy:
    Satriyo is used whenever there is need for a young nobleman on the scene.
    (Even more of my heritage, I am considered of the satriyo 'caste'.)

    As to the exact origin, there were many itinerant craftspeople. Madurese especially, because of a maritime trade ban imposed by the Dutch on the Madurese, in favour of the Javanese.
    Madura is a small island, partly arid with little possibility for agriculture. They depended on maritime trade for an income.
    The Dutch needed to keep the Javanese on side because Java was a major rice producer, important for keeping a colony running. The Madurese were competitors on the Spice Route, another reason for the ban.
    After the ban was imposed, famine became a regular threat on Madura. Many Madurese went to Java, at least part of the year.
    The Javanese welcomed the Madurese as good craftspeople and artists. The Dutch and (Peranakan) Chinese welcomed them because they were hard workers and considered more reliable than the Javanese. (Sorry Javanese:sorry:)
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  10. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    You get more interesting by the minute !!!!:kiss:
    Mill Cove Treasures and aaroncab like this.
  11. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    I do? :happy::kiss:

    Ah well, did you hear the story about my ancestor's elephant army which was confiscated by the Dutch!:rage:
    I thought about filing a claim for the return of stolen goods, uhm animals, but then realized our garden was too small for them anyway.:arghh: Started to measure up the roof terrace.....
    Anyway, the neighbours would complain.:hilarious:
  12. aaroncab

    aaroncab in veritate victoria

    @springfld.arsenal and @Any Jewelry - I most likely will be offering this for sale soon. I'll keep you both in the loop.

    And once again AJ, thank you for the additional details - seems like the more you look at something, the richer the explanation becomes, you are a true fountain of knowledge! Good luck with the pet pachyderms :D
  13. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Thanks for keeping us posted, Aaron.:kiss:
    Still looking for the space to put them in. I sometimes imagine them walking down our very Dutch road.:hilarious:
    Mill Cove Treasures likes this.
  14. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    It's been very instructive to read this thread. Learned a lot, thank you @Any Jewelry and others!
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