6045

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Lacquered, Gilded Offering Vessel (Hsun-ok)

Southern Shan States, Burma
circa 1920

height: 63.5cm, diameter: 29.8cm

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Provenance

UK art market

This particularly striking and well-proportioned offering vessel or hsun ok has a carved wooden substrate which has then been covered entirely with thick, moulded or hand-coiled lacquer which has then been gilded.

The vessel comprises the stem-cup base and the cover with its spire finial. It stands on a flared foot, has a baluster base with a wide bowl, and the cover has similar proportions.

The interior is decorated with cinnabar red lacquer. The underside of the base is in black lacquer.

Hsun oks of this type were used in Burma by wealthy families to carry offerings, mostly cooked food, to the monastery. Usually women carried these vessels under their arms, in their hands, or balanced on the head. Alms food was offered to the monks in the monastery to gain merit.

Most probably the example here is from the southern Shan States in Eastern Burma, possibly from Laikha. The practice of covering wooden, rather than woven bamboo, substrates with thick lacquer in relief is particularly associated with Laikha.

The vessel is in excellent condition.

References

Fatin, P., et al, Lacque & Or De Birmanie, Silvana Editoriale, 2011.

Isaacs, R., & T.R. Blurton, Burma and the Art of Lacquer, River Books, 2000.

Than Htun (Dedaye), Lacquerware Journeys: The Untold Story of Burmese Lacquer, River Books, 2013.

 

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