Description & Technical information

Wood, lacquer, gold and iron, Kingdom of Pegu (Burma, present-day Myanmar). 16th century, 2nf half.
Very rare folding table top that would have been mounted on trestles which have not survived. Maade from exotic wood coated with black Southeastern Asian lacquer or 'thitsi', in black, decorated with gold leaf on the top.
Chemical analysis - through pyrolysis followed by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry - identified the lacquer used to decorate this piece as 'Gluta usitata' from the species 'Melanorrhoea usitata' a tree which originates from regions in present-day Thailand and Pegu respectively.
The carved and incised decoration, although inspired by the decorative repertoire used in Chinese ceramics of the Ming Dynasty, namely blue and white porcelain, is clearly inspired by Renaissance 'entrelacs' following European engravings provided by Portuguese patrons.
Similar tables are referred to in documentation concerning the Count of Linhares and also in written records from household officers to the Portuguese Queen Catherine of Habsburg dating from 1562 and 1564 and published by Annemarie Jordan.

Date:  16th century, 2nf half
Period:  1400-1600, 16th Century
Origin:  Myanmar
Medium: Wood, Lacquer, gold, Iron
Dimensions: 114.05 x 91.95 cm (44⁹/₁₀ x 36¹/₅ inches)
Provenance: Collection J.Lico, Lisbon
Categories: Oriental and Asian Art, Works of Art