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Gilded, Carved Mirror
Thailand or Burma
height: 72cm, width: 30.5cm, depth: 40cm
This splendid example of an aristocratic lady's toilet mirror is from Thailand and possibly Burma. The mirror itself is held within a carved wooden frame that is
fixed at an angle. The wide bench space at the front was to hold porcelain and silver and gold jars of cosmetics. The mirror would have been placed on the
floor and the lady concerned would have knelt on the floor before the mirror to attend to her grooming, or it was placed on a low platform, raised slightly above
The mirror sits on four zoomorphic, cabriole legs. The sides of the mirror frame are carved as the bodies of serpents or naga and these terminate in a pair of
carved naga heads. The wood everywhere is carved with flower motifs, much of which is pierced, and is lacquered in red and gilded and inset with small
segments of glass backed with green foil.
The frame of the mirror is wider at the bottom than it is at the top; this being a feature of Thai architecture and furniture, from window frames to cabinets.
There are minor losses to the carving related to age and use, but overall, the mirror is in fine condition and survives as a rare example of this type of
household art that would have adorned the wealthier homes and palaces of Bangkok and possibly Mandalay. Another such example survived in the Doris
Duke Collection in the United States and is now in the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (see McGill, 2009, p. 207).
McGill, F. (ed.), Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma, 1775-1950, Asian Art Museum, 2009.
Tingley, N., Doris Duke: The Southeast Asian Art Collection, The Foundation for Southeast Asian Art and Culture, 2003.
Provenance: private collection, London
Inventory no.: 4246 SOLD