- Museum number
Nun's alms tray, 'thi-la shin-ban'. This basket has its rim sharply turned inwards, to form a ridge. The underside is reinforced and decorated with straps of basketry (plaited basketry). Four long straps run across from the ridge to the opposite side, crossing in the centre where they overlap. There are eight short feet in the spaces between, and a further basketry strap joins all the feet, forming an octagon. Eight shorter straps run from each foot to just below the ridge. The whole underside is lacquered in reddish brown, the colour of red ochre ('myay ni'). The interior of the tray has been very lightly lacquered. Made of woven split bamboo, lacquered, and decorated with simple raised 'thayo' (lacquer putty) patterns.
- Production date
Diameter: 39.50 centimetres
Height: 6.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Isaacs and Blurton 2000:
This peculiar form of circular basket-tray was used only by Buddhist nuns in the past to collect alms. It was not carried in the hands nor slung from the shoulder like the monk's alms bowl, or 'thabeik', but was balanced on top of a folded cloth on the nun's shaven head. So characteristic was this tray that nuns were sometimes referred to as 'tray-carrying ladies'. The more general term for nuns still used today is 'thi la shin' ('those who possess the precepts'). In the early days of Buddhism in India nuns were officially recognized as part of the 'sasana', and there have recently been some moves in the West to revive this official status of Buddhist nuns. In Burma, though nuns are not part of the 'sasana', they are numerous and well respected. They wear robes of pale pink and folded stoles of brown, and follow a quasi-monastic life. But the bowls they carry are nowadays of aluminium.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2000 Apr - 2000 Aug, BM, 'Visions from the Golden Land: Burma and the Art of Lacquer.'
2001Dec - 2002 Feb, Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 'Visions from the Golden Land: Burma and the Art of Lacquer.'
2002 Apr - 2002 Jul, Bath, East Asian Art Museum, 'Visions from the Golden Land: Burma and the Art of Lacquer.'
- Acquisition notes
- Bought by Ralph Isaacs in December 1992. Price paid by Ralph Isaacs was 700 Kyats. Bought from Maung Aung Myin of Myinkaba (now U Aung Myin).
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Isaacs 196