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Burmese silver tea set, decorated with scenes of Burmese life, animals and foliage 1955

Silver | RCIN 49777

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  • Burmese silver tea set consisting of a teapot with a kylin finial, angular handle and swan-neck spout; a milk jug with a wide spout and scroll handle; a sugar basin with two scroll handles. All embossed and chased with scenes of Burmese life, animals and foliage; the sugar bowl depicting sama jataka, one of the stories (jatakas) of the past lives of the Buddha On a tray with pierced sides and two loop handles.

    The sugar bowl and jug depict stories (jatakas) relating the past lives of the Buddha. The sugar bowl relates sama jataka; the jug shows vessantara jataka, the account of how Buddha in his penultimate incarnation perfected the virtue of generosity as the compassionate prince, Vessantara, who gave away everything he owned - including a white elephant, his wife and his children.

    The teapot is decorated with a band of vegetation interspersed with mythical creatures, a decorative style which was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Floral motifs include acanthus - which was introduced to the region from Europe - and lotus, which together characterised many of the designs of the colonial period. 

    The tray incorporates foliage and flowers, as well as a peacock opening its feathers, a symbol of the Konbaung dynasty.

    Presented to Queen Elizabeth II by President U Nu of Burma during an audience at Buckingham Palace, 21 June 1955.

  • Alternative title(s)

    Tea set

  • Place of Production


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