Burmese silver bowl, Buddhist Jataka figural scenes, mid 19th century


Very large Burmese (Myanmar) silver bowl, decorated with repousse, chased and engraved scenes illustrating a Buddhist Jataka story, probably the ‘Life of Gaudama’, with Prince Vessantara & his wife & children, including an encounter with a tiger, courtly scenes, and his prized white elephant, separated by intricate lambrequin frames, a foliate band above and a wide petal band beneath, the base with a lengthy Burmese / Myanmar inscription.

Mid to Late 19th century


Weight is 2.05 kg of coin silver, ie Sterling Standard.



33cm wide, 17cm high


From a collection of similar Mynmar silverware put together by an Australian last century. The inscription is in an old script, and difficult for modern Burmese to read. I do have the following insight from a Mynmar national: "Looks like the inscription was about a winning cup/or a prize during new year time for a lady whose name is Ma San Mya. She owns a horse. The first line reads the direct translation of the sound "secunia" to Burmese. I couldn't find word. It could be a place or the name of event or a game. The second line reads for the Winning Cup during New Year. (so I presumed it must have be a sort of game or something)- the second line also has the name of the game- Griffin Cup. The third line reads as the owner of Horse, Ma San Mya. (so. I concluded that the game must something to do with a horse)." In the mid 19th century, the 'Griffon' horses were young horses purchased as mounts for the British Army, many from Australia, and taken to 'India' (which included modern day Myama/Burma). Races of these fresh mounts would define the superior horses, and it seems this bowl may have been a prize at one such race, some time circa 1850-70.

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