Antique Lacquer from Thailand and Burma (Myanmar)
Charming hand-painted bands embellish this lacquered basketry betel box from Chiang Mai. Used by rural Thais, this box can be dated to the first quarter of the 20th century. This one has a few repairs, but is in very good overall condition for its age, with most of the painting intact. It comprises two parts: the main container and a shallow tray that fits into it. We no longer see nice examples of these outside of museums and personal collections.
Size: 6.5″h x 10″dia.
Known as “kammawa-sa” in Burmese or “kammavaca” in Pali (the language of the text), these richly decorated manuscripts are important cultural and religious objects. Usually commissioned for merit, they were presented to the monkhood when a novice became ordained, or to the temple in the name of a relative. Richly decorated and in very good condition, this is one of the best examples that we’ve seen in a long time. Made of lacquered and gilded palm for the pages, and lacquered and gilded wood for the covers, this manuscript is complete (sixteen pages and two covers) and has only a few broken corners. There is some abrasion evident on the outer covers and some pages, but that is to be expected. We rarely see these complete anymore or in good condition. From late 19thc. to mid-20thc. (Please see Fraser-Lu, Sylvia; Burmese Lacquerware; Orchid Press 2000; p.137)
Size: Cover-23.13 in. x 5.8 in. Pages- 22.8 in. x 5.35 in.
Called 'pan duang', these handsome flower baskets were the specialty of the lacquer artisans in Kyaukka, Burma in the early 20th century. Made of split and bent bamboo, they were used to carry bunches of flowers for use as offerings at the pagodas. This one is in very good condition and is a generous size; please note that the red color is not bright, as the photos show. (Please see Isaacs, Ralph and T. Richard Blurton; Burma and the Art of Lacquer; River Books 2000; p.172)
Size: 14″ x 10″ x 16″
This handsome box from Chiang Mai is lacquered woven bamboo with attractive natural-color bamboo edging. It is about 15-20 years old, but is made using traditional materials and methods of the past. The design is elegantly spare, but with nice details.
Size: 8.5″ across base X6.75″ high
This diminutive old bowl is beautifully textured with the woven basketry showing from underneath the cinnabar-red-colored lacquer. The shape is pleasing, and a bit funky in its irregularity. No doubt it has had long use and has some evidence of past repair. The small size is unusual, as most offering bowls are considerably larger.
Size: 8″ diam. x 5.75″ h. – lid is 5.25″ dia.