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Storage box (thit-ta)

Storage box (thit-ta)

  • Place of origin:

    Burma (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1860 to 1870 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood (possibly teak) with shwei-zawa (gold leaf) on black thitsi lacquer.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Rectangular storage box with hinged lid.
Lid illustrates scenes from the Ramayana against a foliate ground within multiple borders.
Sides of Lid: ornamented with 3 guinea pigs on the long side and 2 guinea pigs on the short sides against a foliate ground.
Inside Lid: a pair of guinea pigs within multiple leafy borders.
Sides of Box: carry on the theme of the illustration on the top of the lid with further scenes from the Ramayana.
Back of Box: pair if winged male "angels" with their pah-soes drawn up to form breeches.
The figures are dressed in the costumes of the Mandalay Court ca. 1860-1870.

Place of Origin

Burma (made)


ca. 1860 to 1870 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Wood (possibly teak) with shwei-zawa (gold leaf) on black thitsi lacquer.


Length: 41 cm, Width: 25.4 cm, Height: 14.5 cm

Object history note

Historical significance: The guinea pig is the birth sign for Friday.
The following is a comment by Noel Singer; June 2000. "As the guinea pig is not connected with the Ramayana, one must conclude that the inclusion of the animal suggests that the person who commissioned the work was born on a Friday, and that he/she was determined to honour the symbol for the day of his/her birth".
Transferred from the India Museum in 1879. 1880 Register Entry: [Room 8. Wall Case 30.] '01,166. BOX. Black lacquer, gilt figures and ornament; Burmah. 6,387'

Descriptive line

Burmese wooden thit-ta (storage box) of black lacquer and swhei-zawa (gold leaf). Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885). Decorated with the guinea pig (the Friday birth sign) and scenes from the Ramayana. ca. 1860-1870

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Sylvia Fraser-Lu; Burmese Lacquerware; Tamarind Press Bangkok 1985 p. 138

John Lowry; Burmese Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum;
Arts of Asia 1975; pp 26-28; ill. p. 27

Production Note

Attribution note: "Technique and style suggest that the box could be the work of Hsaya Pa, the master lacquer craftsman from Prome". Sylvia Fraser-Lu "Burmese Lacquerware"; p. 138.


Wood; Gold leaf; Pigment; Thitsi lacquer


Woodworking; Incising; Gilding; Colouring


South & South East Asia Collection

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