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Superb Burmese Lacquer Manuscript Box, 19th C.  

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DESCRIPTION: In Burma (now called Myanmar), one of the most honored and beautifully decorated ceremonial pieces was the box that held the many gold lacquered sheets of Buddhist manuscripts, called the Kammawasa. These sheets are read aloud at monastic assemblies, and topics covered could include formalities for the ordination of monks and the bestowal of their robes, the consecration of an ordination hall, celebrating the festival of the full moon, or other such instructions. (Please see our stock #LC47 for the manuscript sheets we have listed).

Such sheets would have been protected in this exquisite wood box, laboriously decorated with raised thayo designs, many applications of lacquer, and hundreds of small mirrors in many colors. Thayo is a mixture of lacquer and ash which is rolled into a putty used to create raised designs. This elaborate box is supported on four animal-paw feet; the lid is hinged to provide access to the manuscripts inside. Originating from the Pagan region in Burma (where much of the finest lacquerware was produced), this box dates to c. 1890. It is in remarkably good condition save two cracks in the back right corner of the lid (see last photo). These are not structural cracks but stress cracks to the lacquer; does not affect this beautiful piece’s sturdiness. DIMENSIONS: 32” long (81.3 cm) x 14 ½” wide (36.8 cm) x 12” high (30.5 cm).

  Stock #TBS16

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