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  • Place of origin:

    Nagina (made)

  • Date:

    1866 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Abdullah, Muhammad, born 19 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved ebony, partly inlaid with ivory, with silver lock, hinges and mounts; underside made from ebonised acacia

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

As is confirmed by the maker’s inscription, this casket was made in Nagina, a town in the Bijnor district of the former north Indian state of United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), celebrated for its high-quality cabinetwork in ebony or ebonized wood. The artists who made such pieces were Muslim and the carved decoration of their wares consisted principally of floral and geometric motifs, sometimes with finely carved inscriptions and verses of poetry in Persian. The high quality of such articles confounded contemporary critics, who were astonished that superior objects of this type were being made at such a distance from both raw materials and patronage.

Physical description

Ebony box is rectangular with canted corners and is carved with foliate and gemetric designs.

Place of Origin

Nagina (made)


1866 (made)


Abdullah, Muhammad, born 19 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved ebony, partly inlaid with ivory, with silver lock, hinges and mounts; underside made from ebonised acacia

Marks and inscriptions

Made by Muhammad Abdullah, Mistry, son of Nur Muhammad, resident of Nagina, division of Bijnur, year 1283
1) Makers's mark; Persian


Height: 27 cm, Width: 27 cm, Depth: 20.5 cm

Object history note

Transferred from the India Museum in 1879. 1880 Register Entry: [Room 8. Wall Case 30.] '01,169. BOX. Octagonal, carved ebony, with metal mounts; Bijnore, Bengal. 7,190'

Descriptive line

Box, ebony with inlaid ivory, Nagina, 1866.

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.265, pl.91.


Ebony; Acacia; Ivory; Silver



Subjects depicted

Flowers; Vines; Lotus


Woodwork; India Museum


South & South East Asia Collection

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