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Ko kaw tee (4 footed basket)

  • Place of origin:

    Kengtung (made)

  • Date:

    1948 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hsaya Maung Htun (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Of bamboo basketry. Lacquered black inside and out, with gilded thayo (moulded thitsi lacquer) work

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

It is circular at the top, and reduces to a rectangular shape at the bottom with a foot at each corner.
It has a band with an eliptical motif between two corded bands near the top, four rectangular cartouches enclosing 4 tribal couples bearing gifts and musical instruments. Four circular ones on the sides enclose peacocks, and Shan Crows decorate the feet. All in gold on black.
There is a gold disc with a Burmese inscription on the bottom giving the date and maker's name.

Place of Origin

Kengtung (made)


1948 (made)


Hsaya Maung Htun (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Of bamboo basketry. Lacquered black inside and out, with gilded thayo (moulded thitsi lacquer) work


Diameter: 22 cm, Height: 13.7 cm

Object history note

Bought from Mrs. H.A. Hinds

Descriptive line

Burmese/Shan ko kaw tee (four footed basket) of bamboo basketry from Kengtung. Coated with black lacquer embellished with figurative and foliate decorative motifs of gilded thayo (moulded lacquer) work. Made by Hsaya Maung Htun 1310 BE (1948 AD)

Production Note

Previously dated 1920-1930. Re-dated to 1948 by Daw San San Maw; Ministry Archaeology, Rangoon, 1994

Attribution note: Kengtung is noted for producing this type of gilded lacquer container. It is in the shape of a pyi-daung (rice basket) as originally these receptacles were baskets with carrying straps and is called ko kaw tee in the Shan language. The tribal figures are those from Kengtung State but still need identification.
Embellishments were added to attract Burmen and European buyers: -
a) Burmese peacock was added to appeal to Burmese market.
b) High relief of the figures introduced around the turn of the 20th century.
c) Signatures started with the commencement of European trade.
(Further information from R. Isaacs; March 2001.)


Bamboo; Thitsi lacquer; Pigment; Gold leaf; Ash


Basketry; Lacquering; Gilding; Forming; Colouring


South & South East Asia Collection

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