Such lacquer cabinets, popularised by the East India Company imports via the Coromandel coast, were an important feature of fashionable late 17th Century bedroom apartments and were discussed in J. Stalker and G. Parker's, Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing, Oxford, 1688. The colourful and low-relief cut-lacquer was known at the time as 'Bantam-work' after the Dutch colony of Batavia in Indonesia.
The term refers to decoration that is cut into a layer of gesso and then lacquered in colours as opposed to flat lacquer or 'japanned' decoration. The technique consisted of overlaying a base of wood with a series of increasingly fine white clays and fibrous grasses. Over this surface, lacquer was applied and polished before the design was incised and the hollowed out portions filled with colour and gilt and finished with a clear lacquer to protect it. Much of the lacquer was transhipped from China through Coromandel in India, or the Dutch colony Batavia, the former name for Djakarta, Indonesia. Although John Stalker and George Parker used the term 'Bantamwork', the contemporary layman usually called it 'cutt-work', 'cutt Japan' or 'hollow burnt Japan' (see A. Bowett, English Furniture 1660-1714, Woodbridge, 2002, pp. 151-3).