A Study of a Binjai (mangifera caesia)
A branch is depicted from the bottom of the page; its oval, attenuated leaves spray outwards and fill the composition. Small blue and white flowers with elongated red sepals, along with a new honey-comb shaped bud, are also pictured in their various stages of efflorescence, growing out of the main branch. The plant also bears three elliptical shaped fruit known as the binjai fruit. The artist has also pictured a binjai fruit that has been cut open, revealing its pale white pulp, and the stone of the fruit is covered with a hairy membrane. ‘Bunjay’ is also handwritten next to the bottom of the branch. The binjai fruit, also known as the Malaysian mango, is related to the common mango. It is grown across Southeast Asia, but it is considered endangered in Singapore. These sour fruits are often used in place of tamarind in Southeast Asian cuisine. The Farquhar Collection, Singapore, contains a painting by an unknown Chinese artist, which depicts the same species of mango (Dozier, p. 109).
Literature: Noltie, H.J. Raffles Ark Redrawn: Natural History Drawings from the Collection of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, London, The British Library, 2012.
Dozier, L(ed.). Natural History Drawings, The Complete William Farquhar Collection, Malay Peninsula 1803-1818, Singapore, National Museum of Singapore, 2010.