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Tibetan Wooden Chhaang Beer Ewer with Silver, Gilt, Gilded Copper & Brass Mounts with Turquoise

18th-19th century

height: 39.8cm, width to handle: 21cm, weight: 1,852g



private collection, UK

This tall vessel, designed to store and pour barley beer (chhaang) has been carved from a hollowed log. It has various decorative elements.

There are four horizontal brass straps running up the vessel. Another runs vertically from the base to the handle. These have all been finely etched or engraved with vegetal and floral scrollwork.

The rim is covered in hammered silver sheet. Beneath this is a finely chased border of silver with overlaid gold highlights decorated with Eight Glorious Buddhist Emblems against a dense foliate scrolling ground.

Each of the two upper corners of the vessel are decorated with a finely executed silver plaque of a rampant Himalayan dragon holding a flaming jewel inset with a turquoise cabochon.

The upper front of the vessel has a cloud-shaped silver plaque decorated with a central Wish-Granting Jewel motif, depicted as a bouquet of six elongated jewels surrounded by flames, all marked out in gold overlay.

The handle is of gilded copper.

The vessel is in fine condition. There is some looseness to the brass mounts on account of shrinkage of the wood, but there are no losses or repairs. The handle is in a well-used condition with some denting where it would have been held. This tends to add to the obvious age and patina. Overall, the flask is impressive and sculptural.


Reynolds, V. et al, From the Sacred Realm: Treasures of Tibetan Art from the Newark Museum, Prestel, 1999.

Shanghai Museum, Treasures from Snow Mountains: Gems of Tibetan Cultural Relics, Shanghai Museum, 2001.

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