This impressive and large spired offering vessel known as a hsun-ok, is entirely covered in moulded lacquer-work in relief (known as thayo work) and gilding (gold leaf) over an orange-red lacquer base, and is inset with dozens of small pieces of glass backed with green, silver and red foil.
The surface is highly decorated and encrusted with scrolling tendrils and flower motifs all in moulded relief. The centres of the flowers are inset with colour glass roundels.
The vessel has a tiered, wide ring-foot; a baluster-form stem and a bowl, that is fitted with a cover of equal proportions and topped by a multi-tiered finial. It retains its internal tray which has black lacquer sides and an orange-red interior, this last matching the rest of the interior of the vessel.
The vessel has been made using a woven bamboo and wood substructure which has then been lacquered and gilded. Almost certainly, it was made in Mandalay in Upper Burma.
The example here is a far more elaborate version of the vessel used to make offerings to the monkhood; the making of such offerings was and remains an important meritous act for any Buddhist Burmese. The giving of items to monks became ritualised and elaborate vessels were developed particularly for use by the wealthy and the nobility for this purpose. Such vessels also were used to decorate shrines and altars – they would be placed in pairs on either side of an altar.
The hsun-ok here is in superb condition. There are almost no signs of losses and no repairs.
Fraser-Lu, S., Burmese Lacquerware, White Orchid Books, 2000.
Isaacs, R., & T.R. Blurton, Burma and the Art of Lacquer, River Books, 2000.
Than Htun (Dedaye), Lacquerware Journeys: The Untold Story of Burmese Lacquer, River Books, 2013.