This finely repoussed and chased Burmese thabeik silver bowl is decorated in dense relief with various courtly scenes which more probably relate to the Jataka, the past lives of the Buddha. Included are winged angel or aspara figures. The scenes are separated by interlaced foliage and peacocks.
The upper border comprises a wide border of scrolling orchid motif.
The lower border has an unusual band that has been chased with foliage and fruits.
The base is flat and of plain, hammered silver.
The shape of such bowls is based on the monk’s begging bowl, although ironically, Burmese monks are prohibited from touching gold or silver. Accordingly, Burmese silversmiths did not use their skills on religious objects unlike silversmiths in other Buddhist lands such as Tibet or Sri Lanka.
Overall, this bowl is a good example of a colonial Burmese bowl. It was acquired in the UK and most probably has been in the UK since the colonial era. It is fine condition, and has obvious age. The repousse work has been extended to the point whereby the bowls has the usual small holes caused by this work. These are not readily apparent unless the bowl is held up to the light.
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.