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pyu gold
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Posted by: tofsla Post Reply
01/29/2013, 06:34:51

they look like some prehistoric robot parts. I love them, on this photo about 60 different types, but i think i enocounter about 80+ so far.. look very out of space... Enjoy

pyu-gold-small.jpg (162.3 KB)  


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tircul gold
Re: pyu gold -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: will Post Reply
01/29/2013, 11:24:05

Lovely picture. Can you tell us more about them please? Where they were found? Are they all definitely Burmese, or might some of them be from India? And how do you separate out the authentic ones from the copies? Can you show some close-ups?

I prefer the name Tircul to Pyu, because it (or a sound like T'seul) was the name these people, who flourished in north-central Burma in the first millennium CE, called themselves. Pyu was the Chinese name for them and it was adopted by the Burmese who conquered and assimilated them.

Attached is a triangular bead (strung with little chank shell beads), with an elephant on one side, a chank shell on the second and an ox or buffalo on the third.

Cheers,

Will

Tircul(Pyu)164s.jpg (48.6 KB)  


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Re: tircul gold
Re: tircul gold -- will Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: mosquitobay Post Reply
01/29/2013, 13:56:37

Nice bead Will,

To the initial post, are you convinced that all of the beads in the first pic are from the period? Don't mean to be negative, but I would be concerned if they were all offered as such.

Here is the only one that I have left in my collection (it is about 20 mm across):

3851.jpg (53.6 KB)  3851a.jpg (81.6 KB)  


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Re: Re: tircul gold
Re: Re: tircul gold -- mosquitobay Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: tofsla Post Reply
01/29/2013, 17:11:43

Color! they are different color from posted above. I will be also concern, if they had same color as picture above. Thank you for your help. Cheers



Modified by tofsla at Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 17:28:01

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Pyu gold
Re: tircul gold -- will Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: tofsla Post Reply
01/29/2013, 16:51:37

Will,

I am very confident on source - they come from Burma direct to Singapore, bypassing TH and JJ Market. There is very strong direct capital flow beetween SG and MM, mostly due to bad blood (as you well aware) spilled beetween Burma and Thailand (say Hi to never defeated Thai kingdom hahaha).

They come with other stuff that gets digged from the ground - mostly votive tablets, some pottery and etc... On dating they NOT all Pyu ( i have 0 interest to use world "tircut" as it not used by anyone here), some of them come from Bagan period. Its easy to tell by some other stuff that comes with them.

There are 2 possiblitis:
1. uncleaned and unwashed. Most small beads have very diffrent color from beads your posted. I.e. they are not cleaned and washed and treated. Color of gold is very different from one on your picture and picture from moscitobay. That makes it easy spot.
2. cleaned and washed. They have same color and same patina (lack of patina) as on pictures from you and moscitobay. They mostly come from JJ Market and TH, it makes it harder to tell, so i am trying not to buy them, unless i absolutley trust the source.

Cheers
Tofsla



Modified by tofsla at Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 17:13:07

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pyu vs tircut or Burma vs Myanmar
Re: pyu gold -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: tofsla Post Reply
01/29/2013, 18:22:47

dear Will,

I am not Claude Levi-Strauss or Ludwig Wittgenstein, but to make long story short, when i select "world" to describe something, i try to select lowest common denominator, i.e. simplest and most used construct, that known to biggest part of potential recipients. It might not be most exact, historically correct, or most descriptive construct. Its choice we all have to make during our young years, and then stick to it for rest of our lives!

However, I respect your right to use language in any other way!

As result, I always will be using "pyu" over "tircut", Burma over Myanmar, Bombey over Mumbai, etc...

Best
Tofsla



Modified by tofsla at Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 18:33:57

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Possibly Tircul?
Re: pyu gold -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Hendrik Post Reply
01/30/2013, 00:27:37


This necklace was shown to me a couple of years ago as "Pyu" gold. I didn't trust the source and let it go. Did I do the right thing?

Hendrik

Tirculposs1.jpg (138.1 KB)  


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Looks good and this why!
Re: Possibly Tircul? -- Hendrik Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: tofsla Post Reply
01/30/2013, 07:42:39

Hendrik,

Let me tell you my personal thought process, with usual disclaimer: your mileage may vary

1. First and foremost its GOLD! If its made from GOLD, unlike any other bead that made out of wood/clay/glass/agate/rock/paper/etc... it has very easy calculated value that always above 0!!! Its purity x price x weight. If you buy fake/new GOLD pyu bead same day 10yrs ago, just based on material price it went from 340 per oz to 1680 per oz, i.e. 5times in 10yrs! If you buy any other bead 10yrs ago, and its not antique, old, real - price of it 0 and will stay 0

2. Any person who buy anything that selling as gold, must test if its gold! Home gold testers are not very expensive and they will tell you gold contents in object you are buying. In case of Pyu beads its always 70-80%, so you can calculate material value very easy using above formula (see 1)

3. In case of the picture above, gold is NOT chemicaly treated (unlike pictures posted by moscitobay and will) so it makes easy to see proper patina. As Gold you are buying is NOT 99.9, it ill have proper patina and oxidation unless been cleaned in aqua regia or other acid. In case of Will beads its very evident its been cleaned in acid, so while it can be real - its makes hard to tell.

4. Your beads are very well known type - sphere inside sphere and unlike beads presented by previous pictures, very hard and expensive to make i.e. labor cost is high for these beads - old or new. You can check with local goldsmith, how much will you need to pay to make bead like this.


So lets sum it up:

So, assuming 10yr holding period, if you pay for it anything below (5 x Material) + Labor there is good chance in 10y time you will come ahead - real or not!

Thats my thinking process, so I hope it helps
Best



Modified by tofsla at Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 08:15:07

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Sneaky practices have been noted, however...
Re: Looks good and this why! -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
01/30/2013, 08:41:29

10k gold can be overlaid with 22k gold, and a test which requires scratching a mark from the piece onto the little stone slab included in the test kit will only pick up a bit of the 22k overlay, testing the item as 22k, and there you have it - an item that tests for about twice the gold content that it actually has. So one must be careful, and if necessary do more invasive testing.....



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Re: tircul gold + name the bug!
Re: pyu gold -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: will Post Reply
01/30/2013, 10:56:22

Good. This is turning into an interesting discussion.

1. If you think all ancient gold is the same colour (even ancient gold from the same place and time period) you should really check out some good museum collections. In fact, there is a huge variety of shades, ranging from bright yellow to almost-orange, and patinas; the variations are produced of course by different burial conditions. A yellow colour has nothing necessarily to do with cleaning in acid, nor is a deeper colour a guarantee of authenticity.

2. Dirt. Well, everyone who collects antiques know that this is the first thing that fake-makers use to try to create an impression of age. I have a friend in Si Satchanalai in Thailand who makes fake Sawankhalok ceramics, and he routinely smears a mixture of earth and guck into the surfaces of his very pretty plates. Seems like a pity to me.

3. As I said before, it would be good to have some close-ups of your collection. It's not really possible to assess it from one picture. I like the look of it and would love to see it in more detail.

4. New methods have been developed for testing the age of gold - mainly for high-end coin collections. They're expensive and not always completely reliable, but if one is buying items in bulk from a single source it could easily be worthwhile.

5. Provenance. Most of the time this is the best assurance we can get. If you trust the dealer you bought the beads from, good for you. But do be careful; there are many horror stories (see 9). The elephant/chank-shell/ox bead was collected more than thirty-five years ago from the Halin area, well before the present fashion, and I have documentary evidence to prove it. That's what I call provenance. Similarly, because Jan (mosquitobay) is such an experienced collector and dealer with one of the best collections of ancient beads in the world, he must have built up a network of trusted and trustworthy suppliers. That's good provenance for the bead he showed.

6. Age. It's very interesting what you say about some of the beads being Tircul and some later from the Bagan period. Which ones? It would be really useful to have more information about this.

7. Have you tested the gold content of the beads? It occurs to me that if they are like the gold coins from Sriksetra and other Southeast asian sites the gold content is likely to vary according to date, earlier being higher. Again, it would be really interesting to know more about this.

8. Hendrik's image. Sorry, Hendrik, but it looks very good to me too!

9. Horror stories. Buying in bulk from a single dealer is very tempting; it's an instant collection. But it can be quite risky. For quite a long time, I've been a consultant on Southeast Asian artefacts to a number of different museums and institutional collections, and I sometimes get asked to assess private collections too. Here are a couple of the saddest stories I've come across:

- a few years back, I was asked to look at a collection of Vietnamese ceramics assembled by a Vietnamese-American collector. They supposedly came from a shipwreck in Indonesian waters. Several hundred pieces; pictures of individual items prior to cleaning; over $100, 000; an instant heritage. But more than 90% were fake. About half had been bought in Singapore. Then the buyer decided to by-pass the Singapore dealer and went to the source in Indonesia. He thought he was being clever, saved 50%, and ended up throwing even more money down the drain. At first, when I pointed out to him the signs that ought to have been obvious, he wanted to kill me; then he wanted to kill the dealer! Now and again some of the fakes appear on eBay, so somebody is going to get cheated all over again.

- just last year, I was asked to examine a European collection of early Vietnamese bronzes from the Dong Son period (1st millennium BCE). At first the collector had acquired pieces gradually, and most of these were authentic, but then he had connected with a dealer in Bangkok who had sources in Vietnam. He checked out the story and I guess it seemed credible, so he bought close to a hundred objects for a large amount of money, and they really were beautiful. But as I looked at them the doubts grew in my mind for stylistic reasons and so we had several of them tested by a laboratory in Brussels. The composition of the bronze was all wrong; they were all recent fakes. I happen to know the dealer in Bangkok (River City and the Oriental, not Chatuchak), and I don't believe he is a crook. He made a mistake, a big mistake, and the collector paid for it.

Over the years, there have been contributors to this forum who have done the same kind of thing. To my mind, it's better to vary one's sources so that one can keep on comparing. Everyone who collects buys fakes at one time or another; one has to find the best way to learn in the process.

Sorry to go on so long. For anyone who gets to the end, the pics are of another Tircul gold bead, also from near Halin and collected more than 35 years ago. It seems to be in the shape of some kind of bug; on top it looks like a cicada but not on the underside.

Cheers,

Will

Tircul161a.jpg (147.0 KB)  Tircul161b.jpg (159.1 KB)  


Modified by will at Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 10:59:19

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Depletion gilding
Re: Re: tircul gold + name the bug! -- will Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
01/30/2013, 11:12:41

Will and Jan - is this primarily a South American practice, or has it been used elsewhere to produce things that look 24K on the outside, but are an alloy inside?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depletion_gilding


Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depletion_gilding

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Re: Depletion gilding
Re: Depletion gilding -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: mosquitobay Post Reply
01/30/2013, 14:16:45

Depletion gilding is an age old jewelers practice that even the most primitive of metal workers most likely figured out by accident. Basically if you heat and quench an object with some amount of gold in it multiple times the pure gold eventually rises to the surface.

I have an electronic tester that runs a small current through the object. When it works, the most prevalent metal is what shows up. If it is mostly made of alloy then the gold will not register. It requires careful use to be accurate, but it is what I use for most South American material.

To Toftsia: I did not mean to indicate that all of your material was not authentic. It looks like a very interesting group. Much of looks similar to authentic material that I have seen.

Your analysis of gold value is correct from a simple investment point of view. But generally as collectors we are more interested in the origin of an object than the gold content. Everyone has there own approach to such things.

Happy collecting

03.00a.jpg (92.4 KB)  


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Clarification!
Re: Re: Depletion gilding -- mosquitobay Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: tofsla Post Reply
01/30/2013, 15:59:13

dear Mosquitobay and Will,

I want to be clear on one subject - nowhere in my posts I question, if beads presented by you or Will are pyu gold beads or not.

I was using them as illustration of "hard to tell category", i.e. beads with no clear patina. it doesn't mean they are not real, its just means that there is no VISIBLE ON PHOTO patina, i.e. been cleaned up with some sort of acid/cleaning solution (most likely) or been stored in cold and dry place (less likely).

My general paradigm to collecting was described in my post, and i would never buy any bead (gold or other material) that in my eyes has no other qualities except provenance and age. That makes me bad collector, but good investor and aesthete. If you put yourself in this frame of mind - you will agree, that I will be the last person trying to pinpoint to someone that he has fake bead.

Best
Tofsla



Modified by tofsla at Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 16:29:21

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Re: Depletion gilding
Re: Depletion gilding -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: will Post Reply
01/30/2013, 14:24:31

Thanks for the interesting link. I hadn't heard of this process before. I don't think I've heard of it in Southeast Asia, but I gather from Wikipedia that a similar process was used in Korea. I'll have to find out more. In early SE Asia the primary technique was fire gilding using an amalgam of gold and mercury. It often worked very well and I have a pair of earrings from Oc-Eo that are still in perfect shape.

Cheers,

Will



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Re: Re: tircul gold + name the bug!
Re: Re: tircul gold + name the bug! -- will Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: highlander Post Reply
01/31/2013, 15:21:18

My first thought Will is that your pendant is a depiction of an owl...a bird, maybe even a falcon?



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Re: Re: name the owl
Re: Re: Re: tircul gold + name the bug! -- highlander Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: will Post Reply
01/31/2013, 19:32:12

Thanks, Nick, you're absolutely right, it does look a bit like an owl, leastways standing upright and from the front. I can't remember what the back of an owl looks like; I'll have to try to find one!

I hadn't thought of it being an owl because they're seldom depicted in Southeast Asian artefacts. But they were common in the art of Han dynasty China, and a lot of archaeologists and historians believe there was a lot of traffic between China and the Indian Ocean by way of Yunnan and Burma (the "southern silk route") in those and slightly later times. I think it gets exaggerated myself, but this little bead might bear the theory out.

Cheers,

Will



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pyu gold - close and personal
Re: pyu gold -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: tofsla Post Reply
01/31/2013, 07:27:59

IMHO, and based on very limited experience - (I only advised my little daughter, on her collection of pet shop toys Ė I canít compare this to greatest advisors for pottery collectors from sinking ship) - this how most old gold looks before its treated/cleaned, etc, etc... Thatís assuming it comes from archeological digs in SEA! However, if your gold comes from archeological digs in UBS or CSFB, it might be nice and shiny, even after 1000yrs

Best

20130131-P1010074.jpg (147.9 KB)  


Modified by tofsla at Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 07:36:55

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Nice photo, thanks for the discourse everyone.
Re: pyu gold - close and personal -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: jake@nomaddesign Post Reply
01/31/2013, 11:08:21



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Re: archaeological digs
Re: pyu gold - close and personal -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: will Post Reply
01/31/2013, 20:03:59

I think the first thing that anyone who has taken part in archaeological digs in Southeast Asia or anywhere else knows is that there are no simple rules for what a particular set of artefacts is going to look like. There's a huge range of variants, even within identical contexts. This applies to ceramics and bronze, to beads and later on to sculptural stone. I could give you many specific examples; here's one: a couple of weeks or so ago, when we were talking about hardstone rings and bracelets here, I showed a bangle from Ban Chiang that had been repaired with gold. I'll post it here again. It was found in the same grave within thirty centimetres of the object in the second photo, a jade bead also repaired with gold. I was present when they were both excavated. Neither has been cleaned beyond a very gentle wash to remove some surface dirt. You'll see how different the colour and patina of the gold is. Here the difference in part is easily explicable - bronze rivets in the bracelet; beautiful gold ones in the bead - but most of the time such differences appear to have no explanation.

And this happens all the time. I'd actually be worried if any group of artefacts didn't exhibit a wide range of variations.

Cheers,

Will

BanChiang86g.jpg (71.7 KB)  BanChiang85a.jpg (42.1 KB)  


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Re: Re: archaeological digs
Re: Re: archaeological digs -- will Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: tofsla Post Reply
02/01/2013, 01:33:50

dear Will

you are very very lucky man!!! I use to do it when I was young and now and then i get chance to to do it!!!, but not as often as I wish :(... True treasure hunting!!!

I am looking thru my other pie gold beads (been in my possession over 15yrs see picture) and under good magnification, its does look different but smooth... What is interesting on your triangular bead - it has this puffy look on surface that I can't see on animal/insect/owl bead!

If you clean gold with acid - everything what is NOT gold goes away and you have holes in the gold microstructure, that I can spot on your photo 1 but not on photo 2? What you think?

And thank you so much for interesting conversation and great pictures!

Cheers

20130201-P1010143.jpg (140.4 KB)  


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something to think about
Re: Re: Re: archaeological digs -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: ancient beads Post Reply
02/02/2013, 09:01:56

older brother

6_Late_Bronze_Age_1600-1200_BC._Spherical_gold_work_bead._Ur_7.60mm-8.25mm.jpg (101.6 KB)  6_Late_Bronze_Age_1600-1200_BC._Spherical_gold_work_bead._Ur_7.60mm-8.25mm._A.jpg (103.7 KB)  


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WOW!
Re: something to think about -- ancient beads Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: tofsla Post Reply
02/02/2013, 10:00:19

WOW... it is!!! age please? thanks



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Re: WOW!
Re: WOW! -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: ancient beads Post Reply
02/02/2013, 10:21:00

Late Bronze Age 1600-1200 BC.From Ur 7.60mm-8.25mm.



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Like to know
Re: pyu gold - close and personal -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: sallie Post Reply
02/01/2013, 00:28:01

I was intrigued to read your post about pyu beads making their way to Singapore. Would you let me know where the locations is as I'd love to check them out although I am more interested in greenstone, carnelian and agate rather than gold. I hope you dont mind sharing and thanks in advance.

Sallie



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Re: Like to know
Re: Like to know -- sallie Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: tofsla Post Reply
02/01/2013, 03:06:21

dear Sallie,

I am not dealer and generally have as much love for dealers, as for stockbrokers, lawyers, travel agents, real estate agents, money changers and bankers . I.e. where value proposition comes from intermediation. Good thing is we are in age when thank you to: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Pierre Omidyar and Jeffrey Bezos they are almost extinct.

However, I will pass you name (via e-mail) of dealer i trust who has beads in Singapore

Good luck
Tofsla



Modified by tofsla at Fri, Feb 01, 2013, 04:05:17

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Thank you so much. I will check him out.
Re: Re: Like to know -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: sallie Post Reply
02/01/2013, 04:46:02



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Dirt!
Re: pyu gold - close and personal -- tofsla Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: will Post Reply
02/01/2013, 11:37:44

Archaeologists spend much more of their time with dirt than with precious objects. And as soon as you start to dig in it you realise how complicated dirt is. Especially in South and Southeast Asia (Latin America I'm sure too), because there's such a continuing tug-of-war between the mineral and the organic elements in it - each of which is complex on its own.

Many organic acids occur in the soil, sometimes in quite intense concentrations. Sometimes these are the relatively gentle humic acids, but they may also be acids such as oxalic acid, which can be powerful and toxic. It's produced in nature by decaying plant growth, but it's also the active ingredient in the old North American cleaning compound "Bee Keepers Friend", which is still, according to Consumers Reports, one of the best bleaches and rust removers. Any artefact that finds itself in contact with a concentration of that for any period of time is going to be affected by it, even gold. It won't alter the gold directly, but it will remove the patinas and any impurities in the surface layer.

And then there's nitric acid, which has traditionally been used in cleaning gold. I think in recent years it has often been replaced in the jewellery business by electrolysis, but it's still used in gold refining. But nitric acid also occurs widely in nature. All rain contains acid, which can concentrate in the soil. And nitrogen oxide, which oxidises to form nitric acid, is a major component of acid rain. We tend to think of acid rain as being a by-product of industrialisation but it has actually existed for as long as volcanic action has existed on the globe - i.e. since the beginning. The areas we're talking about in Southeast Asia frequently have high acidic content in the soil as a result of volcanic activity.

And as if that isn't enough, slash and burn agriculture is also a major factor in man-made acid rain production (and therefore in the occurrence of nitric oxide in the soil). Slash and burn is still used widely in this area, and according to Joyce White, the head of the Ban Chiang Project, it can be dated back to about 6,500 years ago. I don't go along with some of her data, but whichever way you look at it, it's been a very long time. Which means again that artefacts that are buried in these parts for a long period are going to be affected in unpredictable ways by the changing components of their environment.

Fortunately, nothing is ever simple!

Thanks for initiating this discussion; it's good to talk about these things, because we often work on the assumption that nature is stable and constant, when daily observation assures us that it's not.

All the best,

Will

PS. Here are some gold beads from Lopburi - older than Tircul, and not nearly as accomplished. These were all found in the same pot and hardly needed to be cleaned at all.

Lopburi94a_1.jpg (63.3 KB)  


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