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Folding screen

Folding screen

  • Place of origin:

    Simla (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1905 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Yusuf, Muhammad (maker)
    Muhammad, Nur (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and pierced shisham, with iron hinges

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Sir Geoffrey Ramsden, C.I.E.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Muhammad Yusuf and Nur Muhammad made this folding screen in Simla in northern India in 1905. It is made from shisham wood, from the tree Dalbergia sissoo, also known as Indian rosewood and found in northern India. They carved it throughout with pinjra or ‘bird-cage’ work. This type of wood-piercing was traditionally used in northern Indian architecture, where it allowed in air while keeping out direct light. Pinjra work was made at a number of places in northern India, particularly in Kashmir and the Panjab. Here furniture makers made pinjra screens, tables and shelves for the growing number of British tourists to the region in the second half of the 19th century.

Physical description

Folding screen of shisham wood, carved and pierced, with iron hinges. The screen consists of three hinged sections carved on the front, the outer two sections identical and the central section with variations. Each section is defined by uprights and cross rails with foliate borders against a punched background, and each is composed of a lower, middle and upper part. The lower part on the outer sections consists of a configuration of horizontal and vertical pierced and carved panels. On the middle section, this area is mounted with carved and pierced floral panels based around a diamond and mounted on a diagonal axis. The central part of each section is mounted with a large rectangular panel, those in the outer sections carved with a plant issuing from an urn within a cusped arch, and that in the centre carved with a plant issuing from a mound within a rounded arch. These carved panels are surrounded by panels pierced with foliate and geometric designs. The upper part of each of the three sections is mounted with three panels that are defined by arched configurations. Between each of the uprights at the top of each section is a crest rail that is shaped, carved and pierced with scrolling foliage. There are losses to the lowermost section of the central panel.

Place of Origin

Simla (made)


ca. 1905 (made)


Yusuf, Muhammad (maker)
Muhammad, Nur (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved and pierced shisham, with iron hinges


Height: 188 cm, Width: 175.5 cm, Depth: 2.2 cm

Object history note

The screen was acquired in Simla in 1905 by Colonel H.F.S. Ramsden (1856-1931).

Descriptive line

Folding screen, shisham carved and pierced, Simla, c.1905.

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.309, pl.126.




South & South East Asia Collection

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