The Bodhisattva Collection

A Stunning Burmese Lacquer Vessel from U Aung Myint

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Directory: New Century: Lacquer: Contemporary: Item # 937197
The Bodhisattva Collection
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From our Southeast Asia Collection, a stunning and large martaban-type lacquer jar 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. This particular piece is quite obviously a very similar offshoot of the stunning and now famous folding screen that is depicted in Isaacs' and Burton's book on page 222-223, utilizing the exact same palette and general design motif of buddhas in different mudras, flocked by adorants. 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 in a 4 color scheme of burnt-orange, black, green, and a pale yellow or straw color. 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 and drying cycle. 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 genuine and superior quality 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.

Size and Condition: A sizeable piece at 15 3/4 inches tall, 14 inches wide. There is some deterioration/cracking of the lacquer at the mouthrim, probably caused by the vast comparative temperature differences between the Burmese climate, and where we have stored this jar at various times in the States. While normally an unfortunate occurrence to have some lacquer cracking, in this instance, it provides an unusual opportunity to take a glimpse into the construction of the body of this vessel, as it is made of coiled bamboo and not wood....Again, another very highly labor intensive practice, and used in only the best pieces.