Enquiry about object: 2699

    Your First Name (required)

    Your Last Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Your Country (required)

    Your Message

    Burmese Gilded Shwezawa-work Lacquered Betel Box (Kun-it)

    Burma (Myanmar), probably Pagan (Bagan)
    circa 1960s

    height: 22.4cm, diameter: 23cm



    private collection, UK

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This well-proportioned cylindrical box is decorated in gold leaf and black lacquer, a technique known as shwezawa work. It is based on a betel box, and might have been intended as one, although it does not have the internal trays that most traditional lacquered betel boxes had.

    It is decorated with a ground of coils of chu-pan foliage. (Lacquered items with similar gilded designs are illustrated in Green, 2008, p. 171-72).

    The side is decorated with eight cartouches, one for each of the eight Burmese animal motifs of the week (gyo-hsit-lon).

    The top of the lid is decorated with a central figure of a Burmese lion motif (chinthe).

    The interior is of plain, black lacquer, as is the underside of the base.

    The box is in excellent condition with only minor rubbing to the gold leaf.


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

    Green, A., (ed.), Eclectic Collecting: Art from Burma in the Denison Museum, NUS Press, 2008.

    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.

    Dozens of items are added to our website each month. Be among the first to know about them.
    Sign up to our monthly catalogue