Decorated Gilded Lacquerware Box BLW05

This striking antique lacquerware box was made in Bagan, the centre of lacquerware production. Over a woven bamboo base, natural black lacquer as well as pigment from cinnabar (to create the red-orange color) and gold leaf has been applied. The box has been skillfully decorated with a design known in Burma as let-taik-let-kya (buildings alternating with animal and human figures). Floral motifs are also present.

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Every surface of this exceptional lacquerware box is replete with complex incised designs, which include gilding with 24k gold leaf using a technique known as shwei-zawa. Gold leaf has been generously applied to this box and provides a richly reflective surface under lights. The under-surface of the box bears the image of an elephant, a symbol of strength and courage in Burma.

The vessel has seen considerable use and there are minor chips and cracks present as illustrated in the photos. This is quite normal for lacquer boxes of this age that were in regular use. This piece would have taken about 12 months to complete.

Characteristics
Width: 45cm, 17.7 in
Height: 24cm, 9.5 in
Depth: 22cm, 8.7in
Weight: 1500g / 53 oz
Materials: woven bamboo, lacquer, pigment, gold leaf
Provenance: Burmese antique dealer
Period: Mid 20th century

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