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  • Place of origin:

    Mandalay (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1875-1885 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache on paper mounted behind glass with an ornamental frame of thayo (gilt relief moulded lacquer work) embellished with hman-zi shwei-cha (glass inlay).

  • Credit Line:

    Col. Horace Hutton Barnet Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

The painting depicts an idealised sequence of lakeside scenes - which possibly relates a Burmese story or may just depict a day in the life of a Burmese Princess and her ladies-in-waiting preparing gifts to be taken in the offering vessels to the monastery on the mountain at the left hand side of the painting.

The story starts at the top right-hand corner, or background, with a boat which is paddled by ten ladies-in-waiting towing a royal barge carrying a princess surrounded by eight further ladies-in-waiting, two of whom hold her gold umbrellas of rank.

The story moves to the middle ground. The party have left their boats and we now see the princess (identified by her costume and umbrella) with some of her ladies-in-waiting settled on the terrace of a raised pavilion which stretches on stilts out onto the lake. The remainder of the ladies-in-waiting, carrying their princess' regalia, stroll pass the back of the pavilion. Some of the group on the terrace draw attention to an approaching boat, which passes an island with its steps leading to the monastery. It carries four ladies-in-waiting, two of whom are paddling while the other two hold bouquets of flowers. The princess, standing, looks towards a busy scene occupying the foreground.

The gold regalia which make up the offering vessels have been set out on a cloth. A group of serving ladies prepare the meal "al fresco" under the direction of a supervisor. Some come bearing food while others gather blossoms. Some are taking water from the well as others are preparing and cooking on open fires the dishes which will be taken to the monastery in the waiting gold receptacles.

A humorous element is added in two scenes in the background. Two gentlemen paddling a boat have invaded the privacy of the royal party but have come a cropper because in their excitement when seeing a dancing maiden on the shore they have capsized and are seen struggling in the water.

The picture accurately depicts detail of costume, domestic activities and implements; architecture, trees and plants.

The court ladies are seen in the style of the Konbaung Dynasty in the mid 19th century. An acheik hta-mein worn with a tight fitting ein-gyi and their hair swept up, held with flowers and jewels. The two gentlemen are also correctly dressed in the fashion of the time, a long white muslin ein-gyi with matching gaung-baung worn with an acheik pah-soe.

Place of Origin

Mandalay (made)


ca. 1875-1885 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Gouache on paper mounted behind glass with an ornamental frame of thayo (gilt relief moulded lacquer work) embellished with hman-zi shwei-cha (glass inlay).


Height: 50.8 cm unframed, Length: 68.6 cm unframed, Length: 77.5 cm framed, Height: 58.5 cm framed

Object history note

Said by the donor to have come from King Thibaw's (1878-1885) Palace at Mandalay.

Descriptive line

Burmese painting of a pastoral scene with an ornamental lacquered frame. Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885). Depicts in a series of episodes preparation of offerings to a monastery by a Burmese princess and her ladies-in-waiting. ca. 1875-1885.

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

cat. no. 47
Burmese art / John Lowry. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1974 Number: 0112901794 :

Production Note

Attribution note: Burmese style and technique of painting. Perspective obtained by using a high `bird's eye' view point. A sequence of events presented on the picture plain.


Paper; Gouache; Wood; Thitsi lacquer; Ash; Gold leaf; Glass


Paper making; Painting; Lacquering; Forming; Inlay; Woodworking




South & South East Asia Collection

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