hsun ok

Used in Theravada Buddhism, a hsun ok is a vessel with a curved bowl set on a waisted pedestal flaring out to a circular foot-ring a surmounted by a stupa finial. Referred to as an offering vessel, traditionally many Burmese households use large ones to routinely bring offerings of food to the local monastery to feed the monk. They are carried to monasteries by hand or more frequently on the heads of Burmese women. Large ones are lidded containers carrying rice, fruit, or boiled eggs in the base of the bowl-like vessel above which may be fitted trays to hold a serving of curry, accompanied by condiments, betel, and cheroots. They are usually constructed of bamboo or another thin wood and covered with multiple coats of red lacquer (hinthabada) or cinnabar mixed with lacquer sap. The lacquer is mixed with sifted paddy husk to which pulverized bone is added for strength resulting in a plastic material easily modeled. Applying thin strips of lacquer sap are mixed with clay or ash and then the horizontal lines are formed that encircle the piece at and above the foot and below the elegant and inventive finial formed in the shape of a stupa. Bringing offerings to monks in Buddhist monasteries is an important duty of Buddhists who believe that making offerings helps accumulate merit to insure better karma in their next lives. Smaller ones were also used in the home for decorative purposes. They are traditionally placed on a temple altar or in a domestic shrine or on a “Buddha shelf” (called payazin) on the eastern wall of the home.

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  • Antique/Vintage Black Lacquer Monk’s Offering Hsun-Ok, Burma/Myanmar (6211BSK) $695

    H: 26.25″ Dia: 12.5″ | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

    Beautifully shaped hsun ok pieces reveal much about Burmese artisans: their wood and lacquer skills are elegant,  support for monastic life and devotion to Buddhism is heartfelt and their spiritual works enhance the lives of those who have them.This large hsun ok set on a pedestal flaring out to a foot-ring with a lid topped by a tall finial imitating the peak of a Buddhist stupa with applied elaborate mythical animals and floral decorations. Early 20th century pieces in good condition with these special details are very difficult to find and copies abound.


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  • 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.

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  • Vintage Miniature Monk’s Hsun Ok Offering Bowl, Burma/Myanmar (6219EHC) $185

    H: 10.5”  Dia: 4.25″ | FREE SHIPPING

    Made in Pagan this miniature hsun ok demonstrates the remarkable sense of design of Burmese wood-carvers. It is crafted in two separate parts and replicates the shape of larger hsun-Ok, which traditionally have covers with spired lids topped by elegant finials that imitate the soaring outline of Burmese stupa finials. This modest piece is composed of circular tiers repeated on the foot and the bottom part of the stupa finial top.

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