Repoussed Silver Bowl
early 20th century
diameter: 23cm, height: 14cm, weight: 884g
This silver bowl is repoussed with scenes from a Burmese legend. The story seems elaborate and busy – like the bowl itself. The design is noticeably ‘curly’ with scrolling, lace-like foliage seemingly draped everywhere. The scenes include numerous figures in courtly Burmese dress as well as an elephant and horses.
The upper border comprises a scrolling orchid design known as the
dha-zin-gwei motif. The lower border comprises a wide band of spiky acanthus leaf motifs.
The base is hammered but plain.
The shape of such bowls is based on the monk’s begging bowl, although ironically, Burmese monks are prohibited from touching gold or silver. Accordingly, Burmese silversmiths did not use their skills to produce religious objects, unlike silversmiths in other Buddhist lands such as Tibet or Sri Lanka, and instead were employed producing items for the colonial market and also for wealthy local Burmese.
The bowl is in fine condition with little wear from excessive polishing. Unusually for a bowl of this type, there are no holes in the repousse work.
Fraser-Lu, S., Burmese Crafts: Past and Present, Oxford University Press, 1994.
The Silverwork of Burma (with Photographs by P. Klier), The Superintendent, Government Printing, 1902.
Modern Burmese Silverwork (with Photographs by P. Klier), The Superintendent, Government Printing, 1904.Provenance:
Inventory no.: 3135