Large Bronze Ceremonial Kettle From Borneo

AGE: – Between 18th and 19th Centuries
HEIGHT: – 30cm
WEIGHT: – 5.2 Kg.

This Large Bronze Ceremonial Kettle From Borneo is used by the indigenous people of Borneo in East Malaysia, especially the Iban people. These kettles were cast in bronze or brass, and decorated with various motifs related to fertility, prosperity, nature and mythology. The kettles were used for washing hands during special occasions such as weddings or feasts. They were also considered as a form of wealth and prestige and sometimes traded as currency. The kettles reflect the influence of Chinese culture and trade in Borneo, as well as the local beliefs and traditions of the people.

This kettle shows water scenes with dragons in relief winding their way across the mid-section of the body on each side of the kettle. Other motifs include fish, lobsters, lotus flowers, and frogs. The lid, with its domed shape, is adorned with a large river prawn and a fish in low relief on both sides On top of the lid sits a solid-cast creature in a crouching position, accentuated by a prominent tail. The foot of the kettle is circled by a row of lotus petal motifs above the rim with an indiscriminate pattern below circling the upper edge of the rim. The spout extends from the body in the shape of a dragon with the remainder of the spout curved upwards leaving the dragon’s mouth, the opening of the spout is covered by a small hinged lid on which a small frog sits. The top of the handle shows a motif of a crocodile along the curve.

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