Antique/Vintage Hsun Ok Monk’s Offering Vessel, Burma/Myanmar (6220BME) $725


H: 26″   Dia: 12.5″ | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

This elegant hsun-ok reveals much about the Burmese: their profound belief in Buddhism and commitment to support the monastic life, remarkable woodworking and lacquerware skills and sense of simplistic elegant design and form. It has a simple yet striking silhouette with raised circular layers on a pedestal base with woven vertical bands topped by a tall round finial recalling a Buddhist pagoda or stupa. This graceful piece is a perfect accent for any décor.


A hsun ok is a spiritual vessel used in Theravada Buddhism by families to carry food and other offerings to monks in monasteries or temples and, in the past, to members of the royal family. These spiritual acts are to gain merit: good deeds that improve one’s life and inner self and attract other positive events and good karma. Used exclusively in Burma/Myanmar, they are one of the most visually unique and attractive forms of Burmese lacquerware containers, an artistic craft that has flourished in Pagan since the 13th century. Although classic Burmese pieces are simply shaped, fashioning these imaginative, wonderfully shaped vessels is very labor intensive and complex and requires long, intense and skilled workmanship. They are recognized by their vibrant red lacquer (hinthabada) or black finishes containing cinnabar mixed with Thitsi tree sap and sometimes paddy husks and pulverized bones for added strength. Their smooth simple surfaces are often finished with thayo, a low relief technique using lacquer sap and ash-like putty added before drying to apply elegant raised molded, modeled or stamped relief designs and decorative vertical lines on the foot, cover or body of the vessel. The wood, bamboo and woven fiber skeletons are composed of many successive layers, each requiring much time and labor, often weeks, to apply and smooth out and days of drying layers to make the piece resilient. Although none are alike, each hsun ok is composed of a footed pedestal base, topped with a rounded bowl that sometimes contains removal trays and an elegant lid topped with a complex wood spire finial that reflects the soaring outline of a Burmese pagoda, an ancient Buddha stupa (burial mound) or the top of a Buddhist pagoda. This hsun ok has a simple yet striking silhouette with repeating raised circular layers from bottom to top on the pedestal base with woven vertical bands, a broad central bowl with the top with bordered raised circular layers and a complex triangular spire topped by a round finial recalling a Buddhist pagoda or stupa. Since the bottom lacquer layer of Hsun-oks is always black, older ones like this often have black showing through the red. Hsun-oks are traditionally placed on an altar flanking a Buddha image at temples and monasteries, or a home “Buddha shelf” (payazin) on an eastern wall. This piece is in excellent condition and was featured as a VA instagram post.


Additional information




Early 20th Century

Materials and Technique



Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Item Number


Shipping Box Size