Lot 21 | 28 August 2022




LOT 21


B. Kuala Lumpur, 1946

Rubber Tappers with Yield

Signed “Kwan Chin” on lower left


48.5 x 40 cm

Private Collection, Canada

RM 3,500 – RM 7,000

Following the previous lot, the theme of rubber tapping remains in this batik painting, with one significant difference — the yield. Rubber trees are tapped about once every two days, yielding a cupful of latex, containing approximately 50 grams of solid rubber, each time. After collection of the tapped latex, rubber is recovered from emulsion by coagulation with formic acid, creating crumbs that resemble curds of milk. The crumbs are washed, dried between rolls, and compacted into blocks 67 by 33 by 18 cm in size and weighing 33.3 kg. The blocks are then wrapped in polyethylene sheets and packed into one-ton crates for shipping. Yet again, with the portrayal of a lowering sun in the background to suggest dusk and the subjects of the work carrying latex filled cups, one can easily discern that it’s time to collect the yield. There’s something immensely special about all of Kwan Chin’s works but these in particular narrate nostalgia — a time when many families, regardless of race and religion worked on rubber plantations for income and struggled to make ends meet. It also allows viewers a peek and provide insight into rubbing tapping.