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{"id":5515156521110,"title":"Antique Thai Silver Gilt and Niello Betel Leaf Holder, Thailand Siam - Mid 19th Century","handle":"antique-thai-silver-betel-leaf-holder-niello-gilt-thailand-siam-mid-19th-century","description":"\u003cp\u003eThis fine 19th century, Thai silver gilt and niello betel leaf holder has engraved gilt floral and foliate decoration, which features designs derived from orchids and other indigenous plants. It is likely that this holder would have originally formed part of a luxurious betel set dating to the middle of the nineteenth century.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe holder is of baluster shape.  The body has been ornamented with rows of petals, each containing a depiction of a flower, with the same flower motif used throughout. These 'petals' have been arranged as if they are overlapping.  Each flower is presented inside its own petal shaped field with a simple narrow gilt border to the upper edge, emphasising the comparison with nature.  The rows vary as to the size of the ‘petals’.  Starting at the bottom of the body the ‘petals’ are small, increasing in size with each subsequent row until the widest point of the body is reached where the largest ‘petals’ have been placed.  The rows then decrease in size as they approach the neck and the holder narrows as the shoulder curves inward.  To the neck, there are three narrow repeating borders containing vegetal motifs alternating with narrow plain gilt borders which provide contrast and definition.  A similar arrangement can be found at the base of the vase, creating visual balance. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eScholars disagree as to where and when the technique of niello was invented and various theories abound as to its origins.  However, they do agree that since ancient times there have been complex trade and cross-cultural interactions between the peoples of the Asian countries with those of the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It cannot be proven that the niello technique was created in Thailand, but this art was certainly popularised and perfected there.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eHistorical evidence from Thailand shows that the first recorded instance of nielloware can be found in ‘The Royal Family Laws’, written between 1448 and 1488.  One of these laws, known as ‘The Three Seals Law’, states that “a land holding nobleman in the 10,000-order rank was entitled to govern a city and to hold a black Niello-ware ceremonial pedestal and tray to show his official rank”.  Importantly, niello was used to signify the owner’s high rank and important status. The association between niello and high status continued in Thailand until recent times with fine niello objects considered as to be appropriate gifts for Thai and foreign kings, the nobility and visiting foreign dignitaries.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eOn the Isthmus of Kra, the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat, also known as Ligor or Lagor, was the capital of the Tambralinga (Tampornling) kingdom and a principal production centre and training centre for niello artists.  Niello wares made in Nakhon Si Thammarat were supplied to the courts of Ayutthaya and Bangkok. The Thai words used to refer to nielloware are khruang thom.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe word niello is the Italian form of the Latin word ‘nigellum’, meaning black.  Sir George Birdwood proposed the following definition for niello to accurately describe the process and distinguish it from similar arts such as bidri and enamelling.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e“Niello is the process and the result of annealing (literally ‘blackening’ or ‘nielloing’) or fixing by fusion on a decoratively incised polished metal (usually silver but occasionally gold) surface, an opaque, black (non-mercurial) amalgam of silver, copper and lead.”\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe actual process is quite difficult, laborious, highly unpleasant and dangerous, due to the noxious sulphurous fumes given off by the oven and the high firing temperatures involved in the process.  Because of these difficulties, Indian and Burmese silversmiths did not produce Niello-wares very often, but some Thai silversmiths specialised in this art.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eA holder of very similar size, shape and ornamentation is included in a betel set held within the collection of Washington’s Smithsonian Institution. This set was received by President Pierce following an exchange of gifts to celebrate the Thai-American Treaty of 1856, known as the Harris Treaty.  King Mongkut and his brother, Phra Pin Klao, who was simultaneously a reigning Upparat (the Second King), each sent sets of gifts to President Pierce.  This very traditional Thai gift was one of the presents sent by Phra Pin Klao.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eProvenance:-   \u003c\/em\u003eUK Antiques Trade\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eDimensions:-   \u003c\/em\u003eHeight 11.5 cms;  Width 11.5 cms  Length   cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight:-  \u003c\/em\u003e        260 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e \u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences:-\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eThe Smithsonian Institution, Washington, Department of Anthropology, catalogue number E58\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eHarry Tilley, ‘The Silverwork of Burma’, Rangoon: The Superintendent, Government Printing Burma, 1902, pps 12-13.\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eRuben Vasquez, ‘Nielloware in Thailand’\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2020-09-03T10:48:53+01:00","created_at":"2020-07-23T10:24:02+01:00","vendor":"Joseph Cohen Antiques","type":"","tags":["Sold Archive"],"price":0,"price_min":0,"price_max":0,"available":false,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":35373217775766,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default Title","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":true,"featured_image":null,"available":false,"name":"Antique Thai Silver Gilt and Niello Betel Leaf Holder, Thailand Siam - Mid 19th 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fine 19th century, Thai silver gilt and niello betel leaf holder has engraved gilt floral and foliate decoration, which features designs derived from orchids and other indigenous plants. It is likely that this holder would have originally formed part of a luxurious betel set dating to the middle of the nineteenth century.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe holder is of baluster shape.  The body has been ornamented with rows of petals, each containing a depiction of a flower, with the same flower motif used throughout. These 'petals' have been arranged as if they are overlapping.  Each flower is presented inside its own petal shaped field with a simple narrow gilt border to the upper edge, emphasising the comparison with nature.  The rows vary as to the size of the ‘petals’.  Starting at the bottom of the body the ‘petals’ are small, increasing in size with each subsequent row until the widest point of the body is reached where the largest ‘petals’ have been placed.  The rows then decrease in size as they approach the neck and the holder narrows as the shoulder curves inward.  To the neck, there are three narrow repeating borders containing vegetal motifs alternating with narrow plain gilt borders which provide contrast and definition.  A similar arrangement can be found at the base of the vase, creating visual balance. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eScholars disagree as to where and when the technique of niello was invented and various theories abound as to its origins.  However, they do agree that since ancient times there have been complex trade and cross-cultural interactions between the peoples of the Asian countries with those of the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It cannot be proven that the niello technique was created in Thailand, but this art was certainly popularised and perfected there.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eHistorical evidence from Thailand shows that the first recorded instance of nielloware can be found in ‘The Royal Family Laws’, written between 1448 and 1488.  One of these laws, known as ‘The Three Seals Law’, states that “a land holding nobleman in the 10,000-order rank was entitled to govern a city and to hold a black Niello-ware ceremonial pedestal and tray to show his official rank”.  Importantly, niello was used to signify the owner’s high rank and important status. The association between niello and high status continued in Thailand until recent times with fine niello objects considered as to be appropriate gifts for Thai and foreign kings, the nobility and visiting foreign dignitaries.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eOn the Isthmus of Kra, the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat, also known as Ligor or Lagor, was the capital of the Tambralinga (Tampornling) kingdom and a principal production centre and training centre for niello artists.  Niello wares made in Nakhon Si Thammarat were supplied to the courts of Ayutthaya and Bangkok. The Thai words used to refer to nielloware are khruang thom.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe word niello is the Italian form of the Latin word ‘nigellum’, meaning black.  Sir George Birdwood proposed the following definition for niello to accurately describe the process and distinguish it from similar arts such as bidri and enamelling.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e“Niello is the process and the result of annealing (literally ‘blackening’ or ‘nielloing’) or fixing by fusion on a decoratively incised polished metal (usually silver but occasionally gold) surface, an opaque, black (non-mercurial) amalgam of silver, copper and lead.”\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe actual process is quite difficult, laborious, highly unpleasant and dangerous, due to the noxious sulphurous fumes given off by the oven and the high firing temperatures involved in the process.  Because of these difficulties, Indian and Burmese silversmiths did not produce Niello-wares very often, but some Thai silversmiths specialised in this art.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eA holder of very similar size, shape and ornamentation is included in a betel set held within the collection of Washington’s Smithsonian Institution. This set was received by President Pierce following an exchange of gifts to celebrate the Thai-American Treaty of 1856, known as the Harris Treaty.  King Mongkut and his brother, Phra Pin Klao, who was simultaneously a reigning Upparat (the Second King), each sent sets of gifts to President Pierce.  This very traditional Thai gift was one of the presents sent by Phra Pin Klao.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eProvenance:-   \u003c\/em\u003eUK Antiques Trade\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eDimensions:-   \u003c\/em\u003eHeight 11.5 cms;  Width 11.5 cms  Length   cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight:-  \u003c\/em\u003e        260 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e \u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences:-\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eThe Smithsonian Institution, Washington, Department of Anthropology, catalogue number E58\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eHarry Tilley, ‘The Silverwork of Burma’, Rangoon: The Superintendent, Government Printing Burma, 1902, pps 12-13.\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eRuben Vasquez, ‘Nielloware in Thailand’\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e"}

Antique Thai Silver Gilt and Niello Betel Leaf Holder, Thailand Siam - Mid 19th Century

Product Description

This fine 19th century, Thai silver gilt and niello betel leaf holder has engraved gilt floral and foliate decoration, which features designs derived from orchids and other indigenous plants. It is likely that this holder would have originally formed part of a luxurious betel set dating to the middle of the nineteenth century.

The holder is of baluster shape.  The body has been ornamented with rows of petals, each containing a depiction of a flower, with the same flower motif used throughout. These 'petals' have been arranged as if they are overlapping.  Each flower is presented inside its own petal shaped field with a simple narrow gilt border to the upper edge, emphasising the comparison with nature.  The rows vary as to the size of the ‘petals’.  Starting at the bottom of the body the ‘petals’ are small, increasing in size with each subsequent row until the widest point of the body is reached where the largest ‘petals’ have been placed.  The rows then decrease in size as they approach the neck and the holder narrows as the shoulder curves inward.  To the neck, there are three narrow repeating borders containing vegetal motifs alternating with narrow plain gilt borders which provide contrast and definition.  A similar arrangement can be found at the base of the vase, creating visual balance. 

Scholars disagree as to where and when the technique of niello was invented and various theories abound as to its origins.  However, they do agree that since ancient times there have been complex trade and cross-cultural interactions between the peoples of the Asian countries with those of the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It cannot be proven that the niello technique was created in Thailand, but this art was certainly popularised and perfected there.

Historical evidence from Thailand shows that the first recorded instance of nielloware can be found in ‘The Royal Family Laws’, written between 1448 and 1488.  One of these laws, known as ‘The Three Seals Law’, states that “a land holding nobleman in the 10,000-order rank was entitled to govern a city and to hold a black Niello-ware ceremonial pedestal and tray to show his official rank”.  Importantly, niello was used to signify the owner’s high rank and important status. The association between niello and high status continued in Thailand until recent times with fine niello objects considered as to be appropriate gifts for Thai and foreign kings, the nobility and visiting foreign dignitaries.

On the Isthmus of Kra, the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat, also known as Ligor or Lagor, was the capital of the Tambralinga (Tampornling) kingdom and a principal production centre and training centre for niello artists.  Niello wares made in Nakhon Si Thammarat were supplied to the courts of Ayutthaya and Bangkok. The Thai words used to refer to nielloware are khruang thom.

The word niello is the Italian form of the Latin word ‘nigellum’, meaning black.  Sir George Birdwood proposed the following definition for niello to accurately describe the process and distinguish it from similar arts such as bidri and enamelling.

“Niello is the process and the result of annealing (literally ‘blackening’ or ‘nielloing’) or fixing by fusion on a decoratively incised polished metal (usually silver but occasionally gold) surface, an opaque, black (non-mercurial) amalgam of silver, copper and lead.”

The actual process is quite difficult, laborious, highly unpleasant and dangerous, due to the noxious sulphurous fumes given off by the oven and the high firing temperatures involved in the process.  Because of these difficulties, Indian and Burmese silversmiths did not produce Niello-wares very often, but some Thai silversmiths specialised in this art.

A holder of very similar size, shape and ornamentation is included in a betel set held within the collection of Washington’s Smithsonian Institution. This set was received by President Pierce following an exchange of gifts to celebrate the Thai-American Treaty of 1856, known as the Harris Treaty.  King Mongkut and his brother, Phra Pin Klao, who was simultaneously a reigning Upparat (the Second King), each sent sets of gifts to President Pierce.  This very traditional Thai gift was one of the presents sent by Phra Pin Klao.

 

Provenance:-   UK Antiques Trade

Dimensions:-   Height 11.5 cms;  Width 11.5 cms  Length   cms

Weight:-          260 grammes

 

References:-

The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, Department of Anthropology, catalogue number E58

Harry Tilley, ‘The Silverwork of Burma’, Rangoon: The Superintendent, Government Printing Burma, 1902, pps 12-13.

Ruben Vasquez, ‘Nielloware in Thailand’

 

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