6435

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Burmese Silver Octagonal Box

Burma (Myanmar)
circa 1880

width: 9.5cm, height: 9.5cm, weight: 290g

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Provenance

UK art market

This small but very finely executed box is particularly pleasing. The silversmith has packed much detail (and work) into a relatively small area. It comprises an octagonal base, with each of the eight sides showing scenes from a Burmese story, with all the figures in traditional Burmese dress. Each scene is bordered by splendid, scrolling tendrils.

The face of each character is very finely done, as are all the costumes.

The well-fitting lid is slightly domed and repoussed with eight triangular panels, each featuring a figure from the story depicted on the base.

The lid has a central pull which comprises a solid-cast silver head of a grotesque demon or ogre (belu).

The base is plain.

Overall, this is an excellent example of the high level of achievement reached by silversmiths in late nineteenth century Burma.

References

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

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

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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