Exceptionally rare bronze Burmese/Shan musician which would have been part of Buddhist “nativity ensemble”. These consist of dancers, devotees and musicians celebrating his birth with the young Buddha forming the focal point of the group. Usually these types of images are quite crude and small being placed inside chedis/stupas as a form of merit making and were never meant to be displayed on a Buddhist altar. This one however would have been displayed in private home or temple. I purchased this piece in Mandalay in 1989 and since then have seen only two other examples, one was an entire group in the Mandalay style in Techilik on the Burmese side of the Thai/Burma border and another single piece in Chiang Mai. These are very rare images although not documented in any of my books on Burmese Buddhist Iconography (besides the excavated variety), the local attributions have been consistent as to their meaning and function. I have seen a similar devotee in Inle Lake, Shan State with the same hair style and bronze casting technique. That it has a “black patina” has been apocryphally ascribed to be because of a high silver content. I am not a metallurgist so I can neither confirm nor deny this claim but it certainly cast from an unusual and high quality alloy. There is one bell missing from his left hand. Due to the scarce data on this time of image I will date it this circa 1700-1800 CE. H: 20.5cm8.1in.