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    Sale 7715

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    31 March 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 218

    AN INDO-PORTUGUESE EBONY AND WALNUT INLAID CABINET ON STAND

    PROBABLY GOA, 17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    AN INDO-PORTUGUESE EBONY AND WALNUT INLAID CABINET ON STAND
    PROBABLY GOA, 17TH CENTURY
    The rectangular chest with small top and side panels each with finely scrolling ebony leafy vine issuing from a central roundel and set in a similar border, fixed with ivory headed pins, the face with graduated drawers, each with similar decoration divided by ebony bands with raised ivory beading, an original stand with human figures carved on the four legs flanking doors of similar floral inlay, the sides similarly inlaid, original pierced brass mounts throughout, slight loss and rising of veneer, drawers re-filled and re-arranged, back panel replaced
    46 x 35.5 x 18.5in. (116.8 x 90.2 x 47cm.)


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    The form of this cabinet is one which was often reproduced under Portuguese patronage in India. The Western inspiration behind the form is a straightforward seventeenth century cabinet on stand. It differs however in the inclusion of the lower register of four drawers which gives the piece a slightly more substantial appearance. A cabinet of very similar form is in the V&A (Amin Jaffer, Luxury Goods from India, London, 2002, no. 22, pp. 58-9). High-style European furniture of the same period was also characterized by intarsia of various forms, and provides a precedent for the seaweed marquetry of the present cabinet, named for the intricate interlacing designs and dense arabesques that were inlaid.

    The sculptural treatment of the legs on this cabinet, and others of the group is particularly distinctive. Whilst these typically assume a variety of human and animal forms, often with a Hindu association, those on the present example however, continue the Western classical architectural tradition of employing stylized atlantes (male versions of caryatids) as columns (Jaffer, op. cit., p. 58).

    A Goanese attribution is in part based on the existence of purpose built church furniture closely related in style which exists in the Sacristy of the Bom Jesus in Old Goa. The fitted chests of drawers and cabinets in the sacristy are likely to have been installed some time between 1654 (when the sacristy was enlarged) and 1698 (when the catafalque of St. Francis Xavier was erected), (Fernanda Castro Freire, 50 dos Melhores Móveis Portugueses, Chaves Ferrira - Publicaçoes, S.A., Lisbon, 1995, p.54 quoted in Jaffer, op. cit., p. 57).

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