Drawings from the Burmese court at Mandalay  

Posted by ေရွးျမန္မာ in

Album of 48 drawings, 1853-1885. Mandalay, Burma. Museum no. IS.136-2009. A robed Brahmin priest (Poona) of the court holding a conch shell and fan.
Height 37.2 cm x width 23.5 cm.
Acquired with support from The Art Fund and The Friends of the V&A

Album of 48 drawings, 1853-1885. Mandalay, Burma. Museum no. IS.136-2009. Wife of a King's Merchant. In front of her are arranged objects appropriate to her rank: a betel nut stand (containing four small vessels) and three other containers. Height 37.2 cm x width 23.5 cm.
Acquired with support from The Art Fund and The Friends of the V&A
Album of 48 drawings, 1853-1885. Mandalay, Burma. Museum no. IS.136-2009. Princely figure on throne (Chobwa) accompanied by his insignia of rank: umbrella, sword on stand, large container for betel nut and other vessels. Height 37.2 cm x width 23.5 cm.
Acquired with support from The Art Fund and The Friends of the V&A

This rare album of 48 paintings depicts a range of officials and their wives from the last Burmese court at Mandalay (1853-1885). Included are grades of court officials, high ranking army officers, princes and other significant court figures of the time, including Brahmin priests, together with representatives of regional ethnic groups such as Shans. Costumes are carefully and sensitively depicted and each figure is also accompanied by his or her insignia of rank such as swords, musical instruments and betel nut containers. It is likely that the album was created on the orders of a European visitor using local court artists, and an inscription on the fly leaf reads '48 drawings each cost 5 Rs '.

The album not only provides a rare and revealing window onto a now vanished royal court but significantly illustrates and enhances the V&A's existing unique collection of 19th century Burmese court costume and regalia. Several illustrations relate directly to the dress pieces and other insignia in the collection.

The album was collected by Robert Hoe during his lifetime (1839-1909) and bears his bookplate. This American businessman was an art collector and first president of the Grolier Club, a New York society devoted to the promotion of bookmaking as an art. It was later acquired by Doris Duke the renowned collector of South East Asian art who collected Thai and Burmese objects during the 1960s.

This entry was posted on Sep 26, 2011 at Monday, September 26, 2011 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 comments

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November 15, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Thank you for posting this article, these drawings are wonderful and also insightful. As an antique dealer with several pieces of antiques Burmese silver I will be looking for anything I recognise. You can also take a look at my catalogue of Burmese antiques, on my website if you search for Joseph Cohen antiques and then click Burmese silver

November 15, 2013 at 8:50 PM

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