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  • Place of origin:

    Vishakhapatnam (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1901 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ramalingam, Gangula (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sandalwood, veneered with panels of carved and pierced ivory

  • Credit Line:

    Curzon Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Caskets devised for storing precious belongings were stock products of workshops at Vizagapatam (Vishakhapatnam), a port on India's Coromandel coast that from the early 18th century was renowned for its production of luxury ivory and ivory-inlaid furniture and woodwork. This piece reflects the late 19th- and early 20th-century shift in Vizagapatam workshops towards carving such caskets with scenes from Hindu mythology. It was almost certainly made at the workshop of Gangula Ramalingam, specifically for the Delhi Exhibition of 1902-1903. This was a vast fair of Indian arts and manufactures organised by Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, to coincide with the Delhi Durbar, itself held to commemorate the accession to the British throne of King Edward VII. Lord Curzon was an avid collector of Indian art and purchased this piece at the Delhi Exhibition.

Physical description

Casket is sarcophagus-shaped, the centre of the pitched lid with panel representing the coronation of Rama with attendants. The panel is surrounded by a band of dancers and animals amid foliage. The borders are repeated around on all sides with carved animals and foliage and include birds, elephants monkeys, squirrels, cats and a tiger.

Place of Origin

Vishakhapatnam (made)


ca. 1901 (made)


Ramalingam, Gangula (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Sandalwood, veneered with panels of carved and pierced ivory


Height: 13 cm, Width: 34 cm, Depth: 21 cm

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.218-9, pl.65.


Sandalwood; Brass; Ivory; Lac


Carving; Piercing; Engraving

Subjects depicted

Birds; Tiger; Scrolls; Elephant; Animals; Monkey; Foliage; Cat; Anthemion; Dancers; Squirrel


South & South East Asia Collection

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