From our Southeast Asia Collection, an extremely fine and very attractive dome-shaped, two-piece lacquerware box from the famed U Aung Myint workshop in Myinkaba Village, Pagan Burma (Myanmar), from which the British Museum has commissioned pieces for display in London. See Isaacs and Burton, Visions from the Golden Land, Burma and the Art of Lacquer page 222-223. We had the honor, privilege, and education of watching artisans in this famous lacquer workshop creating modern masterpieces in the yun style, an extremely labor intensive craft where pieces literally take months to finish. For those interested in the lacquerware making process (it is fascinating), rather than just replicating and paraphrasing passages from already published texts, we think it best to refer you to our reading list, which has several books on Burmese lacquer that have very informative descriptions of the various processes and techniques.
This current piece is done in the yun style, depicting the twelve creatures of the Burmese zodiac with accompanying Burmese script. It is executed in four colors of rust-orange, black, light green and dark green. As afficionados of Burmese lacquerware know, the more colors, the more time consuming the piece, as each color must go thru its own separate application process and drying cycle. That’s why this piece is actually more costly than our much larger hsun-ok from this same workshop that is only executed in two colors. Done in a painstakingly meticulous yun execution, the closer one looks, the more one realizes that literally thousands upon thousands of tiny etches went into creating this piece. You need a jeweler's loop to appreciate all the fine detail, our photos might not fully capture all the intricacy. Even a modest size item like this took several months to complete. There are many Burmese-style imitations these days coming from China and Thailand, with painted enamel designs being passed off as lacquerware to the unwary....For those who understand the tedious intricacies of genuine Burmese lacquer production, there is no comparison. This is a superior quality, genuine Burmese lacquerware item sourced directly from one of the best and now relatively famous (thanks to The British Museum) modern practitioners of this ancient craft. This is truly a connoisseur’s item: Someone looking for just a decorative lacquer piece should make another selection, but true Burmese lacquer connoisseurs will most appreciate this piece.
Size and Condition: 7 inches tall, 8 1/2 inches wide