Myanmar (Burma) known as “The Golden Land” is
geographically situated on the Bay of Bengal to the west and
bordered by Thailand, Laos and China on the East. “Burma”
means “The first inhabitants of the world” and
that is what the Burmese symbolically consider themselves
The ancient royal city of Bagan (Pagan), located on the banks
of the Irrawaddy River and the renowned center of Buddhism,
is the heart of the manufacture of lacquerware. Through the
art form of lacquer, many aspects of Burmese cultural life
is revealed including the rituals of Buddhism, the chewing
of betel nut, gift giving and various ceremonies.
Using bamboo, wood, cane, palm leaf, horse hair, metal and
leather, resin tapped from trees, is coated onto the vessels.
This sap from the Asian ‘Gluta usitata’ trees,
waterproofs and heatproofs the surface of the objects. The
lacquer process is lengthy and time consuming. The artisans
add layers and layers of lacquer, allowing it to cool in cellars,
and then laboriously decorating the vessels adding colors
( reds, greens, yellows) and intricate designs. These patterns
may depict flowers, lace and geometrics, vegetal motifs, trees,
betel vines, animals, human figures, dancers, horse riders,
or zodiac symbols.
The following is a collection of antique red and black Shan
State lacquerware predominately used in monasteries.These
offering vessels are old and typical of the traditional styles
found in Burma.
more information, email Rhoda:
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