Burmese Bird-Shaped Betel Gold Lacquered Box
Antique late 19th century original offering vessel lacquered ornate gilded betel boxes in the shape of a sacred goose, Hintha bird from Mandalay, Myanmar bird "Hamsa".
Hintha bird is the Burmese version of the Indian goose called Hamsa which symbolizes perfect union was associated with royalty.
Gold lacquer betel boxes, the bird's wings are metal and encrusted with glass details the non-gilded sections are decorated with cinnabar red lacquer.
Burmese lacquer makers excelled in building up high relief with applied decoration, as seen on this wooden objects.
The hintha are further embellished with moulded relief work in lacquer putty, a technique known as thayo.
Then stuck onto the surface and embellished with gold leaves, semi-precious stones, glass, and mirror pieces were inlaid to add value, in accordance with the taste in Mandalay.
The plump body of the hinth are separates into two halves revealing a shallow cavity decorated in plain red lacquer.
This is where small quantities of betel were stored.
The condition of these boxes are relatively good. There are some almost unavoidable losses to the lacquerwork but these are relatively minor.
These are fine examples of extraordinary pieces of Burmese religious art.
Unknown artist, Burmese, Myanmar, Box in the Shape of a Mythological Hintha Bird, circa 1900-1960
currently on display in London's Victoria & Albert Museum.
A similar box is illustrated in McGill (2009, p. 89).
Gift of Doris Duke’s Southeast Asian Art Collection.
Isaacs, R., & T.R. Blurton, Burma and the Art of Lacquer, River Books, 2000.
McGill, F. (ed.), Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma, 1775-1950, Asian Art Museum, 2009.
Large bird: 11" H x 8" W x 10" L.