Malay Silver, A Monumental Repoussed and Engraved Alloy Silver Tray, Riau- Archipelago (Sumatra), Indonesia, Dated 1235 AH- 1819 AD

Identification Number: 553


The tray is decorated with various vegetal and geometrical motives، the central round medallion which is usually have related decoration or occasionally the silversmith shall decide to leave it empty to add or engrave the requested details, decoration or presentation by the potential buyers, similar to our current lot, the central medallion features a calligraphic inscription in Jawi style script with Arabic alphabet and numerals, the style of the script is of Minangkabau in west Sumatra.

داتوك افغ! ليما كادنغ كوتو نن توكو. لوحق تانه داتر سنة ١٢٣٥

Translating to the following:

Datuk (Afgh? Probably the name of a person), Datuk is a respectful title usually given to a senior person or a chief.

Lima Gadang- a place name in west Sumatra-Indonesia.

Koto Nan Tujuah, a place or a village name.

Luhak Tanah Datar, Luhuk is a clan name from Datar, which is a region of Minangkabau- West Sumatra.

Sanat, in the year of 1235 (AH).

Sprcial Thanks for the Kind Person who have helped in the Translation of the Jawi Script inscribed on the tray. 

Further Discussions & Analysis

After a full and a very careful examination with the loop to our current lot which is usually and originally had been made out of very thin sheet of hammered, repoussed and engraved alloy silver metal (a combination and a mixture of mainly two metals, silver and copper), also the very careful examination to the same tools used in the making of this tray and the similar style used in the various decorative elements and of both the hammering or the punching out of the various decorative elements through the back of the tray to create the repoussed art work and afterward the tools which had been used in engraving the front side of the tray are all exactly the same and in our humble opinion, they were all done at the same period, also the fact that there is no traces of re-polishing, recycling nor the removal of certain decorative element and using something else afterwards.

Also in regards to the central round medallion which was originally and purposely made and left empty by the silversmith to add and engrave the requested details by the owner afterwards.

In our humble opinion the central medallion of our current lot is in it’s original status and it had not been subjected to the processes of recycling nor to re polishing nor to the re-engraving nor it had been reduced nor it had been re-beaten from the front and the back again and the tray and it’s medallion are in their original perfect status and it is how it was originally been made and engraved by the silversmith in the first original place also the symmetrical elements found on various places of the engraving, the same tools and style of the silversmithing used all suggest that they all belong to the same maker.

Also in our humble opinion the use of various different Islamic ornamentation and decorative elements in various works of arts from the Malay world which is potentially been derived from other Muslim civilisations is very likely and possible due to the continued interaction with the Islamic world through the economical, cultural, social and the ideological factors, such as trade, affinity, religious tourism and pilgrimage which is an Islamic obligation for the capable Muslims.

Please notice some similar numerical digits used on the following metal bucket from the following:

The Islamic Art, By Othman by Mohad. Yatim, Dewan Basha Dan Pustaka, Ministry of Education Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 1995, ISBN: 983-62-3504-3.

The metal bucket from Terengganu-East of Malaysia, lot No. 24 catalogued on page 16.


The diameter of the tray is 75 cm across.

The height of the raised round rim is 3 cm.


Very Good, few small dents, some wear and tear, metal tarnishing due to oxidisation.


The United Kingdom Art Market.


For a very similar large inscribed and dated tray please see, the Message & The Monsoon, Islamic Art of South east Asia, from the collection of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, 2005, ISBN: 983-40845-7-9.

Please see the silver tray that measures 70 cm illustrated on pages 192-193.

For other similar various types of trays and dishes (Pinggan), please see,

Oriental Silverwork Malay& Chinese, By H. Ling Roth, with an introduction by Sylvia Fraser-Lu, Oxford in Asia Hardback Reprints, Oxford University Press, 1993, ISBN: 0-19-588605-4.

Please see various types figures 75- 80, catalogued on pages 146-156.

For another type of inscribed Silver Tray with Jawi Script From Riau Lingga Archipelago Please see

Also please see the inscribed & dated Silver umbrella Handle (Hulu Payung) with Jawi Script.

Please see Raffles in Southeast Asia, Revisiting the Scholar and Statesman, ACM (Asian Civilisation Museum), the British Museum, 2019, ISBN: 978-981-11-9982-0.

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