Antique Indonesian Silver, A Fine Balinese Oval Shaped Repousse And Engraved Silver Bowl (Lelancang) Decorated With The Balinese Karang Boma Face, Probably Gelgel Or Klungkung In Kamasan, Bali, Indonesia, circa 1900.

Identification Number: 335


This silver alloy vessel of oblong form is known in Indonesia as lelancang, and was used to store or contain different accessories for the betel ceremonial and food offerings destined for a temple. The bowl is elaborately repoussed and chased with phytomorphic motifs and mythological creatures.
The rim is decorated with flowers and beads. The central cartouche that forms the base of the bowl is surrounded by vegetal connecting foliage known in Indonesia as ring ring and karang bunga. The walls of the bowl are all decorated with kanote-like leaves forming elegant scrolling patterns.
The inspiration for such lush decoration comes from the tropical environment of Bali, and from various elements of the folklore and Hindu religion.
The two grotesque faces depicted at the two ends of the bowl are the Balinese Masks of Boma face, also known as “Child of the Earth”.
In Indonesia mythology the Boma face is originated from the Hindu mythology, the creature was born to Dewa Wisnu & Dewi Pertiwi the Mother Earth Goddess, Boma was known as an evil demon, After his death he was transformed into a benevolent spirit and guardian.
The Boma image or face is placed above doors and windows to this day to offer protection to the inhabitants and to maintain the fine balance between dark & light forces of the universe.
Silverware, usually practiced in families and guild-like clans, is also one of the main features of Indonesian culture, however metalwork in Bali was unknown before it arrived to the island by the hands of the Hindus. The result of such a process of syncretism entailed the hybridisation of the island, which was then strongly influenced by Indian art, religion and traditions.
For a similar piece, see our next Lot 336.

Condition: Very good, minor wear and tear.


35.5cm diam. across width at widest point of body* 20cm diam. across of top.
6cm of height.


Indonesia: arts and crafts, Jakarta: Department of Information, 1987, p. 75.

Helen Ibbitson Jessup, Court Arts of Indonesia, Asia Society Galleries, in association with H.N. Abrams, New York, 1990.

Urs Ramseyer, The Art and Culture of Bali, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977.