Rare Parcel-Gilt Silver Offering Stand & Cover
early 20th century
height: 36.6cm, diameter: 21.5cm, weight: 878g
This extraordinary and rare vessel is of repoussed, chased and engraved silver that has been both pierced and parcel gilded (gold-plated). It comprises a pedestal base and a high cone cover topped with a tall gilded finial. Both the cover and pedestal are profusely decorated and pierced with panels of flowers, borders of lotus petals, and rows of flowers, with much of the detail selectively gilded to provide a pleasing contrast with the silver background.
The cone top has fine main triangular panels each decorated with a complex, pierced floral spray. Five
kurtimuka masks decorate the base of the cover.
The interior of the pedestal base comprises a deep bowl, the bottom of which is engraved with a fine, leafy border, and gilded. The bowls has a wide rim in which the cover sits. The rim is chased with scrolling flowers and is parcel gilded.
The exterior sides of the bowl are decorated with sixteen panels, alternatively gilded and pierced, featuring seated, praying deities with high crowns with tall spires of the type worn by Cambodian royalty. The foot is similarly decorated with twelve deities, each on its own individually cut-out panel.
Almost certainly, the item was commissioned either by a member of the aristocracy or more probably by a member of the Cambodian royal family for use in presenting items to senior monks, or for taking offerings to an altar.
Other than is conjunction with an altar, a possible use for such an item would have been the Buddhist festival of
Kathen or Kathina, which comes at the end of Vassa, the three-month rainy season retreat for Theravada Buddhists. It is a time of giving, and when the laity, to express gratitude to monks, will make donations to temples and present new robes to monks. It is possible that this items was used in conjunction with these festivities, perhaps for a member of the Cambodian royal family to present senior monks with gifts.
Less elaborate examples from the collection of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh are illustrated in Jeldres & Dayde-Latham (2002, p. 74).
The example here is in fine condition and is without obvious losses, splits of dents.
Fraser-Lu, S., Silverware of South-East Asia, Oxford University Press, 1989.
Jeldres, J., & B. Dayde-Latham,
Le Palais di Roi du Cambodge, Triad Publishing, 2002.Provenance:
private collection, Paris.
Inventory no.: 3192