Gold nielloware is a traditional Thai art form that dates back to at least the Ayutthaya period (1351-1767). It was one of several types of metalware traditionally used for Siamese court regalia. These gold niello items are originally crafted from silver before being plated with gold. The term “niello” comes from the silver, sulphur, and lead compound that is used to blacken the piece and draw contrast with the intricate gold floral designs that appear in relief. Long associated with Nakhon Si Thammarat province, these items were traditionally tribute to the court of Bangkok that were subsequently redistributed by the king to high-ranking noblemen.


  • Title: Gold niello set
  • Date Created: 1876
  • Location Created: Washington D.C., USA
  • Physical Dimensions: 3.2 H x 7.65 Dia cm
  • Provenance: Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, Department of Anthropology;Photo by Jim Di Loreto, Lucia RM Martino, and Kate D. Sherwood
  • Type: Craft

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