Antique Collectable Peranakan Embossed Enamel Tiffin Carrier

Antique Collectable Peranakan Embossed Enamel Tiffin Carrier


Vintage from the 1940s

Tiffin boxes were widely used in Asia as lunchboxes in the 1900s to the 1960s, however this one is quite unique. The reason behind why tiffin boxes became so popular across Asia was because during the British Colonial Era, the British took the inspiration from India and brought it to its other Asian colonies in Singapore and Malaysia.

Originally tiffin boxes were for snacks in between meals, but later on functioned as lunch boxes. They range from the simple 2 tiers to the more elaborate 4 tiers.
We also used the word "Peranakan", which is another word for "Straits Born Chinese", referring to the descendants of Chinese traders from China to British Malaysia, who adapted to the local way of life, fusing the two cultures together, forming the Baba Nyonya culture. Thus, the words found on each layer may be written in their language, Baba Malay, which is sadly dying out.

The fusion of the two, peranakan and tiffin boxes, created a unique type of tiffin boxes that were decorated in enamel paint and consisted of 2-5 tiers. Eventually the working class adopted this method of transporting food, but highly decorated, ornate tiffin boxes were continued by the Baba Nyonya culture. Thus, we guess that this particular tiffin carrier was made in the 1940s, and it is a collectible item, as we've found other similar ones online.

This tiffin carrier is 13.5 inches tall (without the handle) and 17 inches with. The four tiers are approximately six inches wide, and the top three are 2.5 inches tall, whilst the bottom one is 4 inches tall. It is in good condition for its age, with the regular wear and tear from its years of existing, such as the small dent and chipped paint on the bottom tier. There are two small patches of paint below the floral decorations on the last two tiers, and two small patches on the first two tiers where the writing is, they are barely noticeable, and have been photographed for you to examine. This includes the handle, which is slightly off-kilter, but it can be adjusted, and we've photographed both instances.

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