Decorated Lacquerware Kun-It BLW42

Original price was: $375.00.Current price is: $325.00.

Referred to in Burmese as kun-it, this antique lacquerware box is from Bagan, Burma. Kun-it means betel box, an indispensable item of hospitality in a Burmese household. For at least the last three centuries, lacquer has been one of the show industries of Burma and its importance to the Burmese is probably equivalent to the modern uses of porcelain and glass. Lacquer was a popular gift to foreign envoys from member of the Burmese court. Lacquer boxes were used to store royal jewels, letters, and sacred Buddhist manuscripts.

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Interlocking designs which create an attractive framework for other motifs are popular in Burmese decorative art. This antique kun-it is incised with one of the simplest patterns referred to as ku-nan-kan-byat (Yunnan semi-circle design). The outlines are expressed in black on a red-orange background. There are scratches present on the exterior on this kun-it as well as surface cracks consistent with its age.

This kin-it from is from Bagan, the center of lacquer ware making in Burma where the tradition is centuries old. This kun-it is constructed of coils of bamboo (tin-wa) slivers that have been applied with several layers of lacquer and decorated with a sharp iron stylus. The substance used to make lacquer in Burma is called thit-si, a sap from the Melanorrhoea Usitata, a tree that grows wild in Burma, mostly in the Shan States. Cinnabar from China was added to achieve the red color and green from a combination of orpiment and indigo. The art of achieving certain tonal qualities of color is a closely guarded secret and it has been said that a master will not impart this secret even to his wife and only to the most trusted of his sons.

Height: 23cm, 9 in
Diameter: 23cm, 9 in
Weight: 1.5kg
Provenance: Chiang Mai Antique Dealer
Period: 19th Century

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