20th Century Thai Solid Silver Niello Enamel Cigar Box, Bangkok, Circa 1930

20th Century Thai Solid Silver Niello Enamel Cigar Box, Bangkok, Circa 1930

20th Century Thai Solid Silver Niello Enamel Cigar Box, Bangkok, Circa 1930


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About this item

Antique 20th century Thai rare and very fine solid silver & niello cigar box. Of traditional form with wood fitted interior, lid depicting the Bangkok riding & polo club, presented by friends and members to the club and signed on the inside lid, sides decorated with dense floral ground.

Nielloware art and jewellery has always been very popular in Thailand, However, the niello technique does not seem to have originated in Thailand. It is said that it was introduced by the Persians or the Portuguese to Thailand since both countries had an early presence in Siam.

This box is an exceptional example of Thai niello work. The tradition of presenting nielloware objects as State gifts goes back to the reign of King Narai of Ayutthaya (1656-1688). Pieces of the finest quality can only be viewed at the Nakhon National Museum and the V&A (The Arts of Thailand)

The process of creating niello objects is very complicated and elaborate. Hence, it requires great skill from the craftsman: the object to be decorated, commonly of silver or gold is incised with a traditional Thai pattern. The areas which are to be the background are carved in deep relief and filled with niello which is a black mixture of metallic alloys of lead, copper and silver. Afterwards the niello is fused with the metal of the object by heating. The object is then smoothed by hand with a file and polished. Additional details can also be incised during the filing and polishing process. In the finished article, the silver or gold base of the object stands out and contrasts with the matte black background.

Wear consistent with age and use.


W21.0 x H7.0 x D12.0 cm



Wear condition


Date of manufacture


Place of origin





Early 20th Century


VAT status

Seller is VAT registered


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