Inventory no.: 1533

Shan Burmese Manuscipt & Lacquered Box


Palm Leaf Manuscript, Lacquered Covers & Lacquered Box

Shan States, Burma

19th century

size of box:

length: 61.5cm, height: 8cm, width: 9.5cm

This narrow wooden box with a hinged cover is decorated on all sides with gilded flower and leaf motifs against a black background. The interior is decorated with red lacquer. The hinged cover and base have rounded, bevelled edges. The box sits on four gilded, rounded feet.

Inside, is a palm leaf manuscript, between two wooden covers with outer surfaces decorated in the same gold and lack lacquerwork as the box (the interiors of the covers are in plain black lacquer.) There are sixteen pages, all of trimmed palm leaf. The sides of each are gilded and each has five rows of what is probably Shan (as opposed to Burmese) script to both sides.

The lacquerwork shown on the manuscript box and covers is of the type shown on a large Shan pedestal bowl illustrated in Conway (2006, p. 159).

The box is in an intact, stable condition. The lacquerwork shows extensive rubbing, most particularly to the top, from age and use. It is rare however, to find a box with its original manuscript and covers still present.


Conway, S.,

The Shan: Culture, Arts & Crafts, River Books, 2006.

Inventory no.: 1533