The Bodhisattva Collection

A Masterpiece Annamese Mother of Pearl Tray, 19th Cent

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Southeast Asian: Inlay Work: Pre 1900: Item # 968773
The Bodhisattva Collection
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New Windsor
New York

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From our Southeast Asia Collection, a large and absolutely stunning masterpiece of Annamese mother of pearl inlay work, 19th Century, Nguyen Dynasty Vietnam, depicting exquisitely rendered butterflies, flowers, crustaceans, scrolls, and geometric designs in superb quality mother of pearl inlaid against a dark brown rosewood base.

This fantastic tray truly represents the pinnacle of this art form. We have been fortunate to see the pieces held in the National Museum of Vietnamese History in Ha Noi, and this example can easily sit side by side with the best they have there. The mother of pearl used here is true “old growth” mother of pearl with great rainbow iridescence; not mere shell which appears so frequently on the modern imitations. The inlay is very delicate, refined, balanced, and superbly executed, and contrasts beautifully against the dark brown rosewood.

Size and Condition: 28 ½ inches wide, 18 inches tall. This tray has suffered a drop which has caused the outer border of rosewood to loosen slightly and separate somewhat from the central part of the tray, and has subsequently been reinforced with simple wood glue. A new owner could easily improve on this repair if desired though personally we wouldn’t bother. There is no damage to any of the inlay work which remains in perfect condition.