Inventory no.: 4542

Repoussed Silver Bowl, Burma, circa 1880


Repoussed Silver Bowl


circa 1880

diameter: 19cm, height: 11.5cm, weight: 800g

This pleasing, medium-sized, Burmese silver bowl is has six ‘scenes’ separated by pendant cartouches of interlocking, scrolling foliage. It is unusual for the scenes – two of which show boats. Another includes a forest scene with two unusual dog-like figures. Another shows a meeting of figure all clad in traditional Burmese dress, against a backdrop of an elephant. Possibly, this bowl tells a Jataka story – about one of the previous lives of the Buddha.

The upper border comprises a

dha-zin-gwei or stylised orchid motif, and the lower consists of a broad band of beautifully rendered petal motifs. The base is plain.

Such bowls are said to be based on the lacquer begging bowls used by Buddhist monks in Burma. Most probably this is true but most such bowls served no

religious purpose whatsoever and were commissioned by wealthy Burmese purely for their decorative value, and also for the colonial market, as testimony to

the great skill of Burma’s silversmiths.

The bowl here is in fine condition. There is slight age-related wear to the definition but is free of repairs, splits or dents.


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

Fraser-Lu, S.,

Silverware of South-East Asia, Oxford University Press, 1989.


UK art market

Inventory no.: 4542