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Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {1}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {2}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {3}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {4}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {5}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {6}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {7}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {8}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {9}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {10}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {11}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {12}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {1}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {2}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {3}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {4}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {5}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {6}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {7}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {8}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {9}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {10}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {11}
Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century {12}

Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century

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Antique Burmese Sadaik Manuscript Chest, 19th Century

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The chest is constructed of teak covered in lacquer and gold leaf with a hinged lid and detailed decoration on four sides. The high relief thayo lacquer depicts narrative scenes, bordered by a tendril vine frame with reserve cartouches of birds, beasts or men within.  The scenes may be from the Mahajanaka Jataka, one of the last Jataka tales of a life preceding the life of becoming the Buddha. This tale of endurance starts by depicting the rivalry between two brothers fighting for the throne. The lid depicts this great conflict having two battling elephants at center. Half of the surrounding characters are sending the opponents into retreat. The brother that is King is killed. The sides of the chest dynamically continue the story. On the right side of the front scene, the pregnant Queen at the front of the palace is informed of the King’s death  by her kneeling subjects.  On the left side of the front panel, the Queen is shown in retreat with her riches sacked upon her head. On the left side of the chest the story continues with Saka the Lord of the Dewas offering the Queen a lift upon an ox drawn cart. The right side of the chest depicts the pregnant Queen at her destination of refuge discussing her predicament with her long lost brother who offers protection in the birth of her child, Prince Mahajanaka.
The elaborate high relief thayo lacquer is molded and modeled of a putty of lacquer sap mixed with clay, saw-dust, or ash. The interior and back are lacquered red.
Condition: Minor cracks and losses around the lid frame. Large repaired crack on the back side. Other losses and restorations commensurate with age and use otherwise fine condition.
Size: 15.5 in. high x 28 in. wide x 19.75 in. deep (394 x 710 x 502mm)
Weight: 43 lbs.
Late 19th century.
Provenance:
From a residence designed by Kalef Alaton.
East & Orient Company, Dallas.
Private collection, Texas.
Lark Mason and Associates, New Braunfels, Texas.
For similar chests with Thayo figural scenes see: 
Christie’s South Kensington, 1 October 2002 “Holly Hse and 19 India St. - Two Scottish Collections”, lot 298, labeled “Bought from Samuel in Oxford Street, 1909...”
Rhode Island School of Design Museum, accession no. 2004.12.4, ca. 1800 - 1885, gift of Doris Duke’s Southeast Asian Art Collection.
Chiswick Auctions, London 14 November, 2016, lot 528, from the collection of Sir Arthur Havelock (1844-1908), believed to have been acquired during his tenure as Governor of Ceylon (1890-1895).
Note: It is possible that this chest was commissioned and sold by the trading firm F. Beato, Limited or a similar type of  business. Felice Beato, the famous 19th century photographer of Asia set up his studio in Mandalay in 1890 and became a Burmese art dealer. According to his advertisements, he traded in carvings, silverware, embroidery, silk and curios. This lucrative business thrived in collecting local artworks and selling them to the British. This business grew rapidly and soon opened branches in Rangoon, Colombo & London.   The majority of Burmese manuscript chests are with an undecorated lid. The decoration usually depicts scenes from the Jataka tales. This highly decorative version of the manuscript chest may be intended for the export market. The other two examples found with lid decoration have the provenance of being sourced in Colombo and London.
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