Very rare set of Burmese knives from Mindan village.
Height 70 mm
Diameter 77 mm
925 grade silver
Late 19th to early 20th century
Karel Schermerhorn, Haarlem
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The mid-19th to early 20th century in Burma is known as the "Burmese Silver Age." Most cultures saw a decline in craftsmanship during this period due to industrialization. Burmese silverwork was an exception, where craftsmanship reached a height in the early 20th century, with the best and most detailed work being made circa 1900-1930. This was partly caused by the organization of annual silver maker's contests that kept pushing the envelope of what craftsmen could do.
Burmese silverwork from the period can be classified into two main genres: domestic and export. Domestic items included food containers, betel chewing paraphernalia, offering bowls, scroll containers, and sword hilts and scabbards. Export works included wine goblets, tea and coffee services, candlestick holders, serving salvers and claret jugs.
Harry L. Tilly; The Silverwork of Burma. 1902.
Harry L. Tilly; Modern Burmese Silverwork. 1904.
David C. Owens; Burmese Silver Art. Singapore, 2020.
Published in M. & B. Ferrars: Burma. 1900.
Here we have a small Burmese container, probably a lime box that kept white slaked lime paste that was used in betel nut chewing. Such boxes were popular birthday and wedding gifts for the Burmese.
It is decorated in repousse with raised motifs of seated figures, five around the walls of the container and five more on the lid. Dotted fish scale patterns form the background of each figure, that sits under an arch. The figures probably depict a story from Hindu, Buddhist or Burmese folklore.
Both box and lid are stamped with a Dutch silver hallmark, "ZI". These marks are required by law to be stamped on any used silver item to demark its purity. In this case, ZI indicates the highest grade of silver, namely 925 sterling silver with a 92.5% silver content.
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For holding and protecting important documents.
With silver overlay on iron even continued on its hilt.
Fine Mindan dha with a scene from the Ramayana on its blade.
Fine silver overlaid dha made in Mindan village, south of Mandalay, gained fame in the 19th…
The thick and heavy blade is marked with a script that has yet to be identified.