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Art Terms

Early Burmese Western Style Painting

Hybridity toward the Modernity

British colonial rule in Burma dates from 1886. In Mandalay, court painters to the former dynasty and their students incorporated Western techniques of perspective, light and shade, to produce elegant and refined images of aristocracy, royalty and their wealthy lives. Often this included using gold leaf or precious stones from traditional decorative techniques applied to the rich clothing of the people depicted. Burma’s rich early Western style paintings, once the royal elite disappeared, were dedicated instead to the temple as offerings. They showed Burma’s modernization since Western style houses and paraphernalia such as furniture, musical instruments or tobacco can be found in the background.

Saya Saw "Portrait of Royal Family" late 19th ― early 20th century gouache on cloth

Saya Aye "Burmese Gentleman and Daughter" 1909 gouache on cloth

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