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Burmese Lacquerware Beetle Nut Box

  • Burmese Lacquerware Beetle Nut Box
  • Burmese Lacquerware Beetle Nut Box


Hard to decide? Ask your friends :)

Yun-de is Lacquerware in Burmese, and the art is called Pan yun. The lacquer is the sap tapped from the varnish tree or Thitsee that grows wild in the forests of Myanmar (formerly Burma).  It is straw-colored but turns black on exposure to air. When brushed in or coated on, it forms a hard glossy smooth surface resistant to a degree effects of exposure to moisture or heat.

Lacquer vessels, boxes and trays have a coiled or woven bamboo-strip base often mixed with horsehair, and the thitsee may be mixed with ashes or sawdust to form a putty-like substance called thayo which can be sculpted. The object is coated layer upon layer with thitsee and thayo to make a smooth surface, polished and engraved with intricate designs, commonly using red, green and yellow colors on a red or black background.  The objects are all handmade and the designs and engraving done free-hand. It may take three to four months to finish a small vessel but perhaps over a year for a larger piece.


Large Rectangular Box:

Throughout Asia, it used to be customary for most homes to have special compartmentalized boxes or trays that were used to hold the various materials used to make fresh betel nut quids. When guests would visit, they would be presented with a fully stocked box with all the makings of a tasty betel chew. A typical box would have separate compartments for sliced betel nuts, fresh betel leaf and various spices such as cardamom, fennel, saffron and lime powder.


Height: 4.5"

Width: 5"

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