Decorated Lacquerware Box BLW31


From Mandalay, this black lacquerware box was used for keeping important letters and documents. It has been decorated with diamond shaped pieces of dried palm leaf over natural black lacquer and cinnabar pigmented lacquer on the inside. The condition is excellent with just a little natural wear as shown in the photos.

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Availability: In stock

The tradition of lacquerware is centuries old in Burma. To make lacquer containers, sap is drawn from the Melanorrhoeausitata tree found in north-eastern Burma. Pigments such as ocher, cinnabar, orpiment and indigo are added and mixed to achieve the desired color. A dozen or more coats are then applied to the object resulting in a beautiful luster that is waterproof and very durable. The object is then deftly decorated with a fine metal point which is used to etch grooves that are then filled with colored lacquer. The object is left to dry and then polished. This process is repeated several times and requires great skill, experience and time. A vessel of this size and level of detailed decoration would have taken about 4 months to complete.

Length: 31cm, 12.2 in
Height: 18cm, 7 in
Breadth: 21cm, 8.2 in
Materials: jackfruit wood, woven bamboo, lacquer, pigment, palm leaf
Period: Mid 20th century

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