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Rare 19th C. Burmese Wooden Boundary Marker

Southeast Asia, Myanmar/Burma, ca. 19th to early 20th century CE. A boundary marker, hand carved from a single piece of light-colored wood, topped by a proportionally large human figure standing on an elephant. The rest of the marker- approximately half of its length - is a long, rounded stake. Comes with custom stand. Size: 4.25" L x 2.5" W x 36.5" H (10.8 cm x 6.4 cm x 92.7 cm); height on stand: 37" (94 cm).

Boundary markers are an ancient tool in Southeast Asia. From the 7th century onward, inscriptions refer to widespread ownership of private property (by wealthy individuals and temple foundations) and the importance of land divisions. In agrarian societies where wealth was derived from the products of the landscape, items like these were crucial to create legal distinctions. We even know of an inscription ca. 1003 CE from Prasat Dambok Khpo in Cambodia demanding that those who destroy boundary markers be seized and impaled. This example was made to be placed at the corners of a property, or possibly within a temple to mark sacred grounds for monks' ceremonies.

Condition: Wood is very weathered, as shown. Form and carving are still clear.

Provenance: Ex-Allen Davis collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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