3083

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Four-Piece Gilded Lacquer Processional Betel Holders

Burma
circa 1900

heights: 18cm-37cm

Available - Enquire

Provenance

UK art market; almost certainly this set has been in the UK since colonial times.

The set comprises a stand, a betel box on a stand, a domed food container on a stand, and a cone-shaped betel leaf holder (kun-daung) also on a stand.

Fraser-Lu (1994, p. 230) says that such sets were used as accoutrements in noviciation processions. Use of spiky betel leaf holders such as the example here formerly was the prerogative of royalty. The sets were used by families and each piece would be carefully carried by a family member in a procession to the monastery to mark ceremonies associated with a family member entering the monastery as a novice.

The betel box and stand comprises the stand, the base, the cover and two internal trays. It was designed to hold the ingredients of the betel quid.

Each piece is decorated with orange-red and gilded lacquer, and the lacquer on each piece is inset with red, orange and clear glass cabochons, and flat glass mosaics (hpet-htok) backed with silver foil (known ashman-zi- shwei-cha) and further decorated with moulded relief work (known asthayo) in a variety of motifs including thekya-hmauk (petal) anddha-zin-gwe (orchid scrolling) motifs.

The cone of the betel stand is made of pierced, gilded and lacquered metal.

The set is in very fine condition for its age. There are losses to the lacquer on the extremities. It is rare to find such a set in good condition nowadays however.

References

Fraser-Lu, S., Burmese Crafts: Past and Present, Oxford University Press, 1994.

Fraser-Lu, S., Burmese Lacquerware, White Orchid Books, 2000.

Isaacs, R., & T.R. Blurton, Burma and the Art of Lacquer, River Books, 2000.

Lowry, J., Burmese Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1974.

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