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Work box

Work box

  • Place of origin:

    Bombay (made)

  • Date:

    mid 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood with ivory inlay and brass mounts

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The exterior of this workbox is decorated with a sunburst with alternating rays of wood and ivory, inlaid with sadeli, a geometric micro-mosaic composed of various woods, metals and ivory. Decorative boxes of this type were widely made in western India, especially in and around Bombay, for which reason such objects were described under the blanket heading 'Bombay boxes'. This workbox was intended to be used for needlework, and is designed to accommodate all of the accessories associated with this pastime.

Physical description

Workbox of wood, the exterior with parquetry of wood, ivory, and sadeli and ivory, the interior lined with sandalwood, with silvered brass lock and hinges.

Place of Origin

Bombay (made)


mid 19th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Wood with ivory inlay and brass mounts

Marks and inscriptions

'Bombay Local No. 21/Name. Work box - Inlaid - small/Place of Production { Presidency of Bombay./Collectorate./City of/Bombay/Price Rs. 25/'


Width: 25.2 cm, Length: 17.3 cm, Depth: 8 cm

Object history note

The Workbox was exhibited at the Universal Exhibition, Paris in 1867 and acquired by the India Museum for Rs. 25. Transferred from the India Museum in 1879. 1880 Register Entry: [Room 8. Wall Case 30.] '01,153. WORK BOX. Sandalwood, inlaid with ivory and mosaic; Bombay. 6,635'

Descriptive line

Wooden work box, made in Bombay, mid-19th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Jaffer, Amin Furniture from British India and Ceylon: A Catalogue of the Collections in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum. London : V&A Publications, 2001. 416 p., ill. ISBN 1851773185, p.321, pl.136.


Containers; India Museum


South & South East Asia Collection

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