Silver Monk’s Cap Duomo Ewer, marked ‘Zhu Wen’
The original meaning of the Tibetan duomu is ‘bucket for butter’ and ewers in this shape were used for serving yak butter tea. They also came to be used to hold wine and milk. The relatively small size of this example suggests it might have been used to hold oil to replenish small votive lamps for a personal or travelling shrine.
It is of fine craftsmanship, in high-grade silver and of elegant proportions. Of cylinder form, it has three hoops along the body, a squarish ‘S’ shaped spout, double handles at the top and a brim in the shape of a monk’s cap-rim, which has been exquisitely made with engraved open-work showing stylised peony flowers, a bat and a Chinese coin motif beneath a border of elaborate swirls.
The base has two stamps in Chinese. One is indistinct; the other reads ‘Zhu Wen’ or literally, ‘Full of Patterns’, a likely retailer or maker brand name. The ewer was made either in Chinese for the Tibet market or by Chinese artisans in Tibet.
Acquired from the UK antiques market and most probably has been in the UK since the colonial period.
Shanghai Museum, Treasures from Snow Mountains: Gems of Tibetan Cultural Relics, Shanghai Museum, 2001.
Inventory no.: 752