9421

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    Unusually Fine & Large Pair of Burmese Silver Beakers

    Burma (Myanmar)
    circa 1880

    height: 16.2cm, diameter: 9.7cm, combined weight: 675g

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    Provenance

    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    Colonial Burmese silver beakers or tumblers are relatively rare. Matched pairs are especially rare, and this fine pair is larger than most, of good weight, and each is very finely and elaborately decorated. The detailing on this pair is of a very high standard, particularly that on the elaborate Burmese costumes that the figures shown wear. The beakers are undoubtedly a pair but the figures shown on each beaker differ. The figures generally wear courtly dress and some appear to be holding bows, which suggests that they might be figures from the Ramayana. One figure has European-style angel wings suggestive of European influence.

    Each comprises a wide central frieze of figures in Burmese dress all in especially high relief. The lower and upper borders of each is broad, and comprises in relief, foliate bands that include acorn-like fruits, petal bands and fine scrolling bands. Green (2022, 59) suggests that these somewhat unusual and rare acorn-like inclusions might suggest influence from the large flower-heart motifs seen on Indian trade textiles imported from the Coromandel Coast.

    The base of each is plain.

    Wilkinson (1999, p. 38) reproduces from the Victoria & Albert Museum a product catalogue dated 1900 from the Rangoon-based firm J. Beato & Co, which has early photographs of the firm’s offerings. Included are two beakers (they are not pairs) that are similar though less monumental compared with the pair here. Owens 2020, p. 104) illustrates a fine, single beaker though it is smaller than the examples here. Green (2022, p. 139) illustrates two beakers, also smaller and not quite a pair.

    The pair here is in excellent condition.

    References

    Dehejia, V., Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj, Mapin, 2008.

    Green, A., Burmese Silver from the Colonial Period, Ad Illisvm, 2022.

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

    Wilkinson, W.R.T., Indian Silver 1858-1947, 1999.

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