Enquiry about object: 7061

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    Burmese Silver Centrepiece with Ramayana Narrative

    Burma (Myanmar)
    circa 1900

    height: approximately 38cm, width: approximately 20cm, weight: 1,287g



    UK art market

    This fine silver centrepiece which comprises a footed bowl and cover dates to the Burma’s colonial period.

    The body of the bowl is repoussed, chased and engraved with six scenes from the Burmese version of the Indian Ramayana epic all enclosed with cusped, entwined arches and separated by leafy, pendant medallion scrolls and with a lower border of repeated leaf motifs, and an upper raised border of a scrolling orchid motifs.

    The foot is wide, domed and beautifully decorated with scrollwork on the lower register and lotus petals on the upper register. An engraved baluster stem leads to a fringe with a serrated petalled rim.

    The cover or lid is domed and tiered and similarly decorated with elaborate leafy scrollwork. The uppermost level is decorated with acanthus-like leaves. The lid is surmounted by a solid-cast silver figure of a dancer or maybe a princess in courtly costume. Possibly she held something in her right had or she simply has been cast in a dance pose. Her hair falls down her back where halfway it has been gathered in a loose knot.

    The Ramayana scenes shown on the body of the bowl include one where Rama is lured to the forest by a demon disguised as a golden deer so that his wife Sita can be abducted by the demon Ravana, disguised as a holy man.

    The centrepiece is in fine condition. The silver content is relatively high.


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

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

    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.

    Tilly, H.L., The Silverwork of Burma (with Photographs by P. Klier), The Superintendent, Government Printing, 1902.

    Tilly, H.L., Modern Burmese Silverwork (with Photographs by P. Klier), The Superintendent, Government Printing, 1904.

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