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Tibetan Hardwood Tray

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All Items: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Indian Subcontinent: Himalayas: Pre 1900: item # 627898

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Tibetan Hardwood Tray
Often overlooked among Tibetan wooden artifacts are their footed trays. These were actually a fairly common possession, both in the home and in the monastery. They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and decorations, but all share several common features. Almost all are footed and with steep sides and the corners are almost always joined with a fairly simple dovetail. Beyond that, they can vary a great deal. Some are pine, others are hardwood. Some are elaborately carved and painted, others are quite simple or completely undecorated. Some are square and others are rectangular, though almost all are four-sided. These trays served a variety of uses. They could be used for serving tea or snacks to guests or they could be used for holding similar items or in monasteries for holding ritual objects.

Tibetans have a fondness for this blond hardwood similar to western birch or maple. As a result they seldom paint over its surface. It has been treated with a transparent shellac finish.

The tray measures 10 x 10 x 3 inches. It is in very good condition with no repairs. The top of the sides has been nicely shaped and an incised line echoes the shape of the bottom. Because it is unpainted the dovetails stand out. This kind of wood was in such short supply that the bottom had to be fitted from three or four separate pieces, though there are no cracks in the surface.



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