This is a pestle hewn from rough and heavy granite. Together with a mortar, it is used to crush and pound the ingredients used in Peranakan cooking, such as candlenuts and lemongrass. Such tools were common in the Peranakan household and they were used to release the natural fragrances of the ingredients. Peranakans believed in storing these items together as it was thought that storing them separately was unlucky and would cause disunity in the household. There are accounts of matchmakers and prospective mother in laws who would visit the homes of eligible young ladies while the lunch meal was being prepared, so as to listen to the sound of the mortar and pestle at work. It was said that these ladies could tell whether the girl was a good cook just by the sound of her pounding.

Early-mid 20th century
British Malaya and Singapore
Object size: Dia: 9 x H: 23 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Peranakan Museum
Folklife Collection

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