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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cambodian Silver Ornaments

I was browsing through my collection the other day and I came across these Cambodian silver ornaments that i bought a long time ago. They got pretty badly tarnished so I got some silver polishing cloth to work out the lustre of silver!

These are crafted silver (90% as hallmarked on the bottom of the pieces) are handcrafted by village artisans in Phnom Penh, applying the repoussé technique. Silver from Cambodia and Burma are among the most beautiful and interesting art objects in Southeast Asia. Several countries in Asia have a long tradition in silver making for jewellery and "exclusive" decorative items. In Cambodia, the tradition is mostly aimed at making betel boxes where people used to keep ingredients needed for betel chewing. Betel leaves, betel nuts and lime are the main ingredients in betel chewing. The custom is still widespread in parts of Asia, in particular among old people. The Cambodian silversmiths have been considered experts at chasing, repoussé, niello, enamelling, and gilding. Boxes featuring animals are divided lengthwise into two with the head, back, and tail comprising the upper section and the feet and stomach the lower half.

A pumpkin silver box:

This is supposed to be a bird sculpture:

Silver papaya box:

Silver prawn sculpture:

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