Friday, April 21, 2017


Our Burmese altar has welcomed visitors in the entrance of the Wesco Fabrics warehouse in Denver for over 20 years. Marla felt it gave her peace as she entered the fray of the decorative fabric and window covering business each morning. With the business sold and the building on the market, we knew it was time to find a good place for it. Our friend, Paul Ramsey, of Shaver-Ramsey Rug Gallery, thought we should contact the Asian Art Department of the Denver Art Museum. The curator, Tianlong Jiao, saw the altar and felt it would be a great addition to the museum.  After many weeks of communication back and forth and the approval of the acquisition committee, we found a new a new home for our cherished altar.

The museum's conservation team arrived on Tuesday.

We watched as they planned to disassemble the altar. Marla and I wanted to be there for its last day with us. It may sound a little corny but it was like losing an old friend. 

They slowly begin the process of taking it apart.  They were amazingly careful with each piece. 

Step by step. 

The head conservator carefully cleaned each piece on site before transport.

We were very impressed with the process of disassembly. 

As they were working I reflected on craftsmanship and artistry of people who made the altar in Burma, now called Myanmar, in the 19th century.

Just about ready.

"One, two, three,...lift." Teak is heavier than it looks.

It was packed in the truck,....and then it was gone.

We will not be able to see our altar on exhibit for three years as the Denver Art Museum will be undergoing a major expansion and refurbishing of the iconic Gio Ponti designed wing, pictured on the far right. We can't wait for that day to come!

We first came upon the Burmese altar in Chiang Mai Thailand. While exploring one of many buildings belonging to a supplier of ours, we found the altar.  We had unknowingly gone into their private residence. 

It was definitely a WOW moment when we first saw it! They told us it possibly came from a small temple or Royal residence in Mandalay. We asked our agent to contact them to see if they wanted to sell it to us. A few weeks later they said it could be ours!

This altar is from the amazing Doris Duke collection of Southeast Asian art. Her foundation donated many fabulous treasures to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and the Walters Museum in Baltimore.

This wonderful Hpaya Khan Burmese shrine is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Images: Dick Gentry, Doris Duke Asian Art Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, Denver Post

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