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Cabinet

  • Place of origin:

    Gujarat (possibly, made)
    Sindh (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    early 17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Teak, veneered with rosewood and inlaid with tropical woods, ivory and brass, with silver escutcheon and iron mounts

  • Museum number:

    885-1905

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This cabinet originated in Gujarat, in western India. From about 1500 to 1630 cabinetmakers in this region usually decorated fall-front cabinets and boxes with inlay. This inlay ranged from sadeli (micro-mosaic work in wood and metal) to geometric, floral and figurative marquetry in wood and ivory. This cabinet is from a group with inlay of ivory (either white or stained green), a variety of woods, and brass or copper. The cabinetmaker has used a range of subjects. They include animals positioned symmetrically or chasing one another, courtiers, and armed Indian and Portuguese hunters on foot, or horse, or elephant.
Mughal design is full of hunting themes. They appear in miniature painting, carpets, clothing and metalwork. The hunting scenes on this and many related cabinets are usually thought to have been influenced by Mughal design. However, hunting themes were equally fashionable on high-quality European cabinets of the period. European cabinetmakers created hunting scenes using a variety of techniques, from inlaying materials into wood to etching on ivory. Etching on ivory allowed designers to copy images directly from printed works such as Livre de Chasse (book of hunting) (1563) by Gaston Phebus.

Physical description

Fall-front cabinet, teak veneered with rosewood and inlaid with tropical woods, ivory and brass, with silver escutcheon and iron mounts.

Place of Origin

Gujarat (possibly, made)
Sindh (possibly, made)

Date

early 17th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Teak, veneered with rosewood and inlaid with tropical woods, ivory and brass, with silver escutcheon and iron mounts

Dimensions

Height: 16.5 cm, Width: 27.5 cm, Depth: 20 cm

Historical context note

"Fall-front cabinets and boxes made in Gujarat and Sindh in the sixteenth century and early seventeenth are typically decorated with inlay of one sort or another, ranging from micro-mosaic work (sadeli) to geometric, floral and figurative marquetry in wood and ivory. This example is representative of a group characterised by the inlay of ivory (either white or stained green), a variety of woods, and brass or copper. A range of decorative motifs is found, including animals positioned
symmetrically or chasing one another, courtiers, and armed hunters - both Indian and Portuguese - on foot, or mounted on horses or elephants. Such figures are usually portrayed around mounds from which spring trees with multiple branches and abundant foliage. Similar motifs are found on Gujarati mastic-inset mother-of-pearl cabinet-ware."

Descriptive line

Fall-front cabinet, teak veneered with rosewood and inlaid with tropical woods, ivory and brass, decorated hunting scenes. Gujarat or Sindh, early 17th century.

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

pp.28-29, ill.
Luxury goods from India : the art of the Indian cabinet maker / Amin Jaffer. London: V&A Publications, 2002 Number: 1851773819

Subjects depicted

Floral patterns; Elephant; Tiger (animal); Birds; Riding (horseback riding); Foliation (pattern); Hunters; Axes (weapons); Deer; Lamps (lighting devices)

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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