Burmese Silver Art : Burmese Silver Art
Burmese master silversmiths produced a magnificent body of work from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries – the Burmese Silver Age. This aesthetic and functional work is characterized by a unique decorative style and superb technical artistry. Many of the artefacts are embellished with mysterious visual narratives drawn from ancient religious and mythological sources, communicating spiritual beliefs and values that resonate to this day. Burmese silverwork is a distinct and little-known genre of silver art. This book tackles this obscurity by illuminating and describing for the first time 100 Burmese silver artefacts in a stunning photographic gallery. This silverwork – from the Noble Silver Collection – represents some of the rarest and finest quality work from the Burmese Silver Age. The centrepiece gallery of silverwork masterpieces is bookended by two well-illustrated and informative chapters that provide readers with deeper insights into Burmese silverwork: a robust frame of reference chapter summarises the 2,000-year history and cultural tradition of Burmese silverwork; and a chapter following the gallery deciphers the complex and allegorical iconography of the decoration, which gives the reader a deeper appreciation of its religious and cultural meaning and origin. This book captures the great, almost mystical, allure of Burmese silverwork – from the sublime artistry of the decoration, to the extraordinary skill of the silversmith and the profound meaning and importance of the visual narratives. In doing so, Burmese Silver Art takes its place as a definitive reference work for any art historian, collector, expert, student, or general reader interested in this hitherto-overlooked body of noble art.
David C Owens was born in England and emigrated to Canada after graduating from Imperial College, London University. A career in the metal mining industry included 25 years working in Southeast and East Asia, an experience that stimulated David’s interest in Asian history, culture and art. A frequent visitor to Myanmar since 1992, David now devotes much of his time to the collection and study of old Burmese (Myanmar) silverwork. The Noble Silver Collection, assembled by David and his wife Kathleen over eight years, is the largest-known single collection of work from the Burmese Silver Age. David’s particular expertise is deciphering the iconography of the archetypal visual narratives that decorate Burmese silverwork. He regularly consults on Burmese silver art, providing guidance on collecting work from the Burmese Silver Age. David has contributed articles on Burmese silverwork in the prestigious Asian art journals Passage and Arts of Asia. Burmese Silver Art is David’s first book.