Asian Antiques by Silk Road

Burmese Lacquered Teak Mythical Animal Medicine Box

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Southeast Asian: Pre 1950: Item # 902437

Please refer to our stock # 63-95 when inquiring.
Silk Road Gallery
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PO Box 2175
Branford, Connecticut 06405, USA
(203) 208-0771

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A medicine box from Burma in the form of a mythical composite animal is carved of the local dense teak wood and lacquered in red that has worn and aged to reveal a primary coating of black lacquer, creating a pleasing patina. We have seen other old Burmese medicine boxes in strange animal shapes, perhaps carved with the intent of scaring off ill omens. This one appears to be part tiger, part dragon, which is the second such combination we have seen, suggesting that this particular pairing was a regional favorite. The piece is carved so the dragon back slides open over a storage area that was used for herbal remedies. This is an appealing folk art object with good detail and spirit in its crouching position, large round eyes and open jaw that is more grin than grimace. Dating from the early to mid-20th century, it shows heavy wear on the bottom surfaces of the paws (see photo enlargement #9) but otherwise is in very good condition. Dimensions: length 15” (38 cm), width 3 ¾” (9.5 cm), height 7” (17.9 cm).