This fine and unusually large eating bowl is from Mongolia and possibly Tibet. It is of burlwood, probably rhododendron burlwood, and has high-grade (almost pure) hammered silver mounts set with coral and turquoise cabochons. It is the largest such eating bowl that we have seen.
A large, single piece of silver sheet covers the deep interior of the bow and folds over its rim.
The bowl sits on a low ring foot, and this is encased in sheet silver that has been beautifully decorated with applied silver gem-set flower motifs interspersed with four of the eight precious objects (ashtamangala) – the pair of golden fish, a kalasha vase, the lotus, and the parasol.
Such bowls were used by the nobility to eat. The silver was supposed to protect the user against poison.
The bowl is in excellent condition. All stones are present. The bowl has a very fine patina and obvious age.
Sheeks, R., ‘Tibetan and Mongolian tsampa boxes’, Arts of Asia, March-April 1996.