Bamboo basket

This is an example of a lacquered bamboo basket, otherwise referred to as “Bakul Siah”. “Bakul means “basket” in Malay and “Siah” means “auspicious” in Hokkien. This piece is lacquered in black and red and the motifs are gilded on it using goldleaf. The motifs include flower blossoms of various types that form circular patterns at the top, centre and bottom of the basket. A motif of what is possibly a Chinese deity is on the top of the cover. Wealthy Peranakan families used these baskets to transport valuable wedding gifts during the traditional 12 day wedding celebration. These baskets were commissioned in pairs and used to carry items such as silk and cotton garments, beadwork, jewellery and sugarcane among others. They were used in the “lap chai” ceremony when wedding gifts between the two families were exchanged. Smaller versions were also used to transport gifts for other occasions. These included birthday gifts such as a pair of red candles and rice vermicelli given to one’s elders.

Early-mid 20th century
British Malaya and Singapore
Gross measurement: H:36 x Dia:29.5 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Peranakan Museum
Folklife Collection

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