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Silver Box

Large circular silver box with tri-dimensional Kinnara (half bird, half woman) represented on the lid and scenes of the Vessantara Jataka on the lid and sides

Burma/Myanmar; Pagan, from Kyaukku U Min temple commissioned by King Kyanzittha
Burma, Myanmar; Mandalay; c 19th century
BC 97.2.46; Northern Illinois University
John Lacey Collection

John Lacey and his wife collected this box when they were in Burma as diplomats in the late 1970s. They donated it to the Burma Foundation Group in 1997, intended for the Burma Collection at Northern Illinois University for facilitating the study there of Burmese art.

This large cylindrical silver box is decorated with two different Jataka stories in repoussé. A tri-dimensional kinnari (half bird, half woman) crowned the lid surrounded by scenes of  kinnari and kinnara while the Vessantara Jataka is represented around the sides. In the old days, the Burmese would have offered this type of object as a gift for newly married couple as a symbol of fidelity and generosity.