7029

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    Burmese Repoussed & Pierced Ramayana Silver Box

    Burma
    early 20th century

    width: 9.2cm, height: 9.2cm, depth: 7.5cm, weight: 239g

    Sold

    Provenance

    Private collection, UK.

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This fine, small octagonal silver box might have been used in conjunction with betel nut, or it might simply be a box to hold nothing specific, and was intended simply as a demonstration of the silversmith’s art.

    It is repoussed and chased in unusually high relief on all sides, with various Burmese figures in traditional attire.

    The figures are from scenes in the Burmese version of the Ramayana. The lid, for example, shows Rama slaying the demon (rakshasa) Trighata who wears deer horns as a disguise to kidnap Sita.

    The lid is pierced. It also features applique work to supplement the high-relief of the repousse in that the head of one of the figures on the lid actually extends beyond the contours of the box.

    The base is plain.

    There are no dents, splits or restoration. Overall, it is a complex example of early 20th century Burmese colonial silver-smithing: a great deal of work and design has gone into a comparatively small area!

    References

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

    Owens, D.C., Burmese Silver Art: Masterpieces Illuminating Buddhist, Hindu and Mythological Stories of Purpose and Wisdom, Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2020.

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