VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Bronze vessel
25760
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The bronze vessel dated in the 17th century originates in the powerful Islamic Sultanate Brunei in the north of Borneo. Its position was based on control of the trade with the popular natural products of the region. Horn of the rhinoceros and horn-bill, swallow nests, camphor, resin, beeswax and bezoar were popular with the Chinese and Indian upper social strata. They were also used in the Near Orient for medical purposes, as delicacies, or for the production of jewellery. As an equivalent, luxury goods like bronze, ceramic, pearls and precious substances were imported for the court. These import goods stylistically influenced the court arts and crafts of Brunei as the bronze vessel illustrates clearly. The vessel which is richly adorned with cattle and bird figures show two dragons playing with a pearl on the handle - a Chinese subject. These vessels were used exclusively for ceremonial purposes. It contained water or herbal essences for the members of the royal family.

History of the Object
The ethnographic museum received generous subsidies from the secret councilor of commerce Georg Arnhold (1859-1926), joint-owner of the renowned "bank-house Brothers Arnhold". Thanks to these funds the financing of an expedition to New Guinea was possible and the Oceanic Collection was enriched with more than 1500 objects. Moreover, Arnhold gave the museum a larger scientific collection from the possession of the Berlin ornithologist and ethnologist Albert Grubauer. It consisted of different items from population groups on the islands Sumatra and Borneo, among those the bronze vessel. Grubauer collected these pieces within the years 1910 and 1911 during his expeditions to Dutch-East-India (Indonesia) and British-North-Borneo (Sabah).

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Bronze 
Measurements
Diameter: 33 cm. 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Brunei (North Borneo) 
Geography
Brunei 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
17th Century 
Function
vessel for ceremonial purposes 
Acquisition
Collected 1910 by Albert Grubauer, donated to the Museum in 1912 by Georg Arnhold 
Copyright
Staatliche Ethnographische Sammlungen Sachsen, Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden Foto: Eva Winkler 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden 
Museum
Museum of Ethnography, Dresden 
Credit line
Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden, Staatliche Ethnographische Sammlungen Sachsen, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden 

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