Tribal Hnyìn ( Burma )  

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Here one more tribal art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Object Name - Hnyìn

Date - late 19th

Century Geography- Myanmar (formerly Burma)

Medium- Bamboo, gourd


Longest pipe 55.9 (22 in.), shortest 12.7 cm (5 in.)

ClassificationAerophone-Free ReedCredit LineThe Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889

Accession Number - 89.4.290

Tünak , Tribal Musical Instrument ( Burma )  

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Object Name - Tünak

Date- early 20th century

GeographyMyanmar (formerly Burma)

MediumWood, metal


Overall: W. 11.8 x D. 69.5 x L. 48.7cm

(4 5/8 x 27 3/8 x 19 3/16in.)


Credit LinePurchase, Mr. and Mrs. Thatcher M. Brown III Gift, and Crosby Brown Collection, by exchange, 1990

Accession Number - 1990.131.2

This wooden musical instrument displaying at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,
still under on going research to find out more details.

Burmese Saùng-Gauk  

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Object Name - Saùng-Gauk
Date - 19th century
Geography - Mandalay?, Myanmar (formerly Burma)
Medium- Wood, various materials
Dimensions - H. 89.7 cm.; W: 87 cm.; D. 20.5 cm. for details see acc. card.ClassificationChordophone-HarpCredit LineThe Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889Accession Number89.4.1465 a, b


This richly decorated arched harp has 13 twisted silk strings of varying diameter. Each string connects to a gold-painted stringholder which runs the length of the gold-lacquered deerskin belly. The strings are secured to the neck with red-twisted cotton cords (tuning rings), which end with a gold colored metallic tassel. The sides of the instrument depict scenes from the Ramayana in gold against a black field. Often used to accompany songs, instruments like this one had their orgins in ancient India and represent one of the oldest surviving harp traditions.
* This information may change as the result of ongoing research.

Lady Figure Hanging, Kalaga  

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Object - Hanging, Kalaga
Place of origin - Burma (made)
Date -late 19th century (made)
Materials and Techniques - Black woollen cloth, appliquéd with painted silk, silver spangles and silver-gilt thread.
Dimensions - Length: 173 cm Width: 109 cm Length: 136 cm (figure)
Current Location - Victoria & Albert Museum
Museum number - IS.219-1960
Credit Line - Given by Miss Eunice Frost OBE
Gallery location - In store
This is a fine example of a Burmese pictorial textile hanging known as a kalaga. The owner would have used it either as a decorative wall hanging, a room partition, or as a screen hung outside the house on festive occasions. This one is made of black woolen cloth with pink silk appliqué work with silver spangles and silver gilt thread.
It depicts a woman in the elegant costume of the Konbaung court of the late 19th century. She wears multiple necklaces, jewelled ear-tubes, bracelets and rings, and her hair is dressed in a jeweled coil on top of her head. She displays the classic, almost crescent-shaped, maha-naphoo (royal forehead), which was the height of fashion at the Mandalay court during the time of King Thibaw (r. 1878-1885). After the annexation of Upper Burma by the British in 1885 and the exile of the Burmese royal family, the style was adopted by dancers and the newly rich until about 1900.

The extravagant style of kalagas appealed to Burmese and Europeans alike and their popularity soared in the mid 19th century. This one is likely to have been made especially for the European market in Burma.

Physical description
A standing female figure holding a cheroot. Dressed in the style of a court lady of the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885) Mandalay Court ca. 1880. It consists of three main elements - a hta-mein (the lower wrap around garment) which is made up of a central panel of an acheik-luntaya design, a waist band of faded pink finishing in a train of faded pink; a floral patterned checkered yinzi (the breast cloth) and a tightly fitting checked ein-gyi (jacket) with flaring khar-taung (waist-wings) and kalama-no (lapets). These are worn with open sandals. The lady's hair is dressed in a jewelled coil on top of her head falling in a long piece over her right should and she wears multiple necklaces, jewelled ear-tubes, bracelets and rings.

On black woollen cloth the acheik patterns on her silk hta-mein are of painted pink silk applique work with silver spangles and silver gilt thread. The ein-gyi is embroidered in applique in a check pattern of flower heads and leafy sprigs and the pink silk yinzi is checkered with four petaled flower heads. The features of her face, neck and hands are painted in black ink on white cloth.

Descriptive line
Embroidered Burmese kalaga (hanging) of woollen cloth with an applique design representing a lady of the Mandalay Court ca. 1880, of coloured textiles (partly painted), imitation jewels, silver gilt thread and sequins. ca. late 19th century.
Historical significance
This portrait of an elegantly dressed lady displays the classic almost crescent-shaped maha-naphoo (royal forehead) which was the height of fashion at the Mandalay court during the time of Thibaw Min (r. 1878-1885). It was then adopted by dancers and the nouveaux riches until about 1900. The effect was obtained by painting the hairline black. Inf. Noel F. Singer June 2002


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Object - Puppet, a prince
Place of origin - Burma (probably, made)
Date - ca. 1880 (made)
Materials and Techniques - Carved and painted wood, with a costume of dark orange silk embroidered with gold thread, sequins, pieces of mirror and glass beads.
Current Location - Victoria & Albert Museum
Museum number-IS.33-1966

Physical description
This male puppet probably represents a prince at the court of the Konbaung kings of Burma and wears the elaborate court costume with its shaped, tailored and sumptuously decorated pieces which were worn layer on layer culminating in the costume which, when seen from a distance, created the image of a legendary heavenly apsaras (celestial nymph).
Object history note
Bought from J.C. Irwin on RP/66/2084 for £86 with IS 3l to IS 35-1966
Collection code -IND


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Object - Harp, Saung gauk
Place of origin - Prome, Burma (possibly, made)
Height: 61 cm Length: 72.5 cm
Date - 1875-1900 (made)
Materials and Techniques - Carved hollow wood, coated with black thitsi lacquer and gold leaf, enriched with relief moulded lacquer and glass inlay work.
Current Location - Victoria & Albert Museum
Museum number - IM.234-1927Gallery location - In store
Credit Line - Bequeathed by the Marquess Curzon of Kedleston

Physical description
The resonance case is in the form of a curved boat of which the prow is carried up in a long arc curving inwards. The "deck" is of animal skin, pierced with four round sound-holes. Along the middle of this drum runs a blade of wood drilled with thirteen holes through which are tied the ends of the strings, originally of varnished silk but now of string. The other ends of the 13 strings are tied round the front of the arc and they are tuned by means of red cotton tasselled cords looped in a special way round each string and round the arc. Black and gold decoration runs all the way around the sound box. This takes the form of six scenes from the Ramayana amid scrolling foliation, and bears five kite-shaped panels of inscription commenting on the action (two on one side, three on the other). The inscriptions on the first side read (descriptions of the action are given in square brackets):

1. `Prince Rama pursues Kambi disguised as a hind, shoots an arrow and hits her'. [A male hunter comes upon the Golden Deer who is shown as a human-faced quadruped, with no bestial features or ogre headdress.]
2.`The royal younger brother Lakshmana goes off (?to help) Prince Rama.' [Lakshmana draws a line in the ground with his bow and heads off into the forest.]
3.`Ravana disguised as a mendicant accepts a gift of fruit offered by Lady Sita.' [Ravana disguised as a beggar with an alms bowl approaches Sita who, kneeling, offers him fruit piled on daung lan stand. Ravana's aerial chariot is parked, ready for escape, at the far end of this panel]. On the other side:
4. `Prince Rama, his younger brother Lakshmana and Lady Sita are attacked by ogres, the elder and younger brother, Duthagara'. [A male figure,Lakshmana (?), brandishes a bow, or instructs its use; a male and a female figure close by.]
5. No inscription. [The two ogres are attacked.]
6. `Shot by prince Rama's arrows, the Duthagara brother lid dead. The lady Meme Kambi having followed, comes up to the place [The two ogres lie dead in a pit with arrows through their chests; a female figure comes upon them.] A peacock, the national symbol of Burma, is depicted in gold on black at the end farthest from the arc, between the Ramayana episodes. The "deck" and the arc have raised gilded scroll-work and red, green and white mirror-glass arranged in rosettes and lines.
Carved hollow wood, coated with shwe-zawa work ( black thitsi-lacquer and gold leaf) enriched with small patines of thayo (moulded) and hman-zi shwe-cha (glass inlay) work.Descriptive lineSaung gauk, Burmese boat-shaped harp of thirteen strings and red silk tuning cords. Made of carved wood, coated in shwei zawa (black & gold thitsi-lacquer) work and enriched with small patines of thayo (relief moulded) hman-zi shwei-cha (glass inlay) work of red, green and white mirror-glass. With scenes from the Ramayana amidst foliate designs. ca. last quarter of the 19th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)John Lowry Burmese Art London Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1974; Pl. 38
Sylvia Fraser-Lu Burmese Lacquerware The Tamarind Press Bangkok 1985; p. 138

Ralph Isaacs & T. Richard Blurton Visions from the Golden Land - Burma and the art of lacquer. British Museum Press 2000; Catalogue number and plate 128; p.177; (Catalogue of Exhibition of Burmese Lacquerware at the British Museum; Summer 2000).

Historical significance
The beautiful saung-gauk has a long history in Burma - from 10th century Pagan or earlier to the present day. Valued as an instrument that is played in a solo performance or popularly to accompany vocal presentations or purely as an ornament placed on its stand.
NoteRalph Isaacs is of the opinion that this harp was possibly produced by the master craftsman, Hsaya Pa of Prome for the Indian Art Exhibition; Delhi 1902. See References below.