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An image of Phan waen pah by


Phan waen pah
Alternative title:
Two-tiered receptacle
Place of origin
Rama III Period 1824 - 1851 → Thailand
Media category
Materials used
black lacquer with mother-of-pearl inlay

38.0 x 33.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 1993
Accession number
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

The skill and dedication required to make fine lacquer objects such as this had a natural parallel in Buddhist devotions. For this reason the utensils, furniture and fittings that adorned the more important and wealthy Buddhist temples were usually flamboyant objects that glittered with subtle reflections of mother-of-pearl. Elaborate trays like this were used in Buddhist ceremonies by the monks, who would place their robes on the upper pedestal before an image of the Buddha. A classic and uniquely Thai form, this receptacle is decorated with seated 'thepanom' - minor Buddhist deities - and floral-inspired ornamental motifs that echo the Buddhist decorative style. Thailand is renowned for its distinctive 'hoi fai', or flaming mother-of-pearl, made from the shell of the turbo snail that is indigenous to the Gulf of Thailand.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 300.

Bibliography (5)

Phiphitthaphanthasathān hæng Chāt, Treasures from the National Museum, Bangkok, Bangkok, 1987, 118 (illus.). comparative piece

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: South-East Asia', pg. 298-301, Sydney, 1999, 300 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, Arts of Asia, 'New Dimensions', pg. 54-63, Hong Kong, Nov 2003-Dec 2003, 61 (colour illus.). no.17

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 332 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 183 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (1)

Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–05 Sep 2015