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