Indar Singh Gill’s dining set for his trans-Pacific voyage

RBCM 2019.8.1.1-7
Made of mixed copper alloys (tamba in Punjabi)

The first major wave of migration from Punjab to Canada started in the early 1900s. All migrants had to spend weeks on the trans-Pacific voyages. It was a common practice to travel with this type of dining set, which are rarely found today. This is an important part of the material culture of the early twentieth century.

This particular set belonged to Indar Singh Gill. His father, Naranjan Singh Gill, was part of the first major wave of migration from Punjab to Canada in 1906. Indar arrived in Canada in 1927; his wife, Bhagwant Kaur, and their two older children, Kalvan Gill and Kaldip Gill, joined him in Canada in 1938. The Gill family settled in Mission, BC. Kalvan Gill went on to become an entrepreneur, and Kaldip Gill later became an English professor. The family preserved this important set and donated it to the Royal BC Museum with the assistance from the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley, one of our partners.

Indar Singh Gill’s dining set, used during his 1927 trans-Pacific voyage, includes drinking glasses, a small water jug, dishes and a tray.

This object selected by Dr. Tzu-I Chung. View Profile »