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Stern of Burmese paddy boat

Stern of Burmese paddy boat

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1895

Shelfmark: Photo 88/1(24)

Item number: 88124

Length: 20.7

Width: 26

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the stern of a Burmese paddy boat, taken by Philip Adolphe Klier in the 1890s. This view shows the helmsman seated in the steering chair in the raised stern of an Irrawaddy River paddy boat or laung-zat. This was an old vessel used to transport rice down to Rangoon. The stern quarters were generally decorated with elaborate woodcarving, in this example an intricate design of flowers and foliage. Burma has a long tradition of woodcarving, at which its artisans excel both technically and aesthetically. Klier was known as a specialist in art photography and his work was published in art books. He was interested in portraying images of glass mosaics, woodcarving and other crafts of Burma. In fact he later became a dealer in arts and crafts such as silverware and furniture. The photograph was published as Plate XVIII in Harry L. Tilly, ‘Wood-Carving of Burma’ (Rangoon, 1903), where the author comments that the “heavy bold carving of the steering chair…is admirably suited to stand the sunshine and rain of Burma, and is a good example of how the Burmese carve for their own pleasure.”

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