Enquiry about object: 5545

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Burmese Repoussed Silver Powder Box

19th century

diameter: 16cm, height: 8.8cm, weight: 456g



UK art market

This silver box is of flattened, spherical form, and was designed to hold face powder – either the version used for European ladies, or perhaps ground rice powder which Burmese ladies sometimes used to ‘whiten’ their faces.

It is a tour-de-force of Burmese silversmithing. The sides are decorated with six scenes from Burmese legend separated by the most intricate, interlaced vegetal scrollwork.

The cover or lid, which is slightly domed, is similarly decorated with a single scene that is surrounded by concentric borders of interlocking, complex scrolling.

The box sits on a flat, ring foot. The cover fits over the rim in the base.

There is slight wear caused by polishing to the detail of the faces of the figures, but this is lost in the overall profusion and intricacy of the design.


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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