• Art of the Islamic and Indian  auction at Christies

    Sale 7843

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    13 April 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 283



    Price Realised  


    Of rectangular form, the front, top and back with a central cusped medallion containing a gazelle chased by a lion, the sides with a central star-shaped medallion with birds, each panel with spandrels and borders of meandering palmette vine, the sides with probably contemporary steel handles, the doors originally of fall front form opening to reveal six drawers, each decorated with trees and confronted birds, the interior of the doors with a finely inlaid chasing scene showing a hunter, a lion and two gazelles, slight damage particularly to top, areas of restoration
    9¾ x 15¼ x 11in. (25 x 38.6 x 28cm.)

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    This box has been converted at some point from more standard fall-front cabinet form. Fall-front cabinets and boxes with similar decorative motifs are commonly attributed to Gujarat or Sindh, notably on the basis of the contemporary accounts of European travelers to India. According to the Dutch merchant Francisco Pelsaerts, Tatta in Sindh, was in 1626 a centre of manufacture for 'ornamental desks[and]writing cases very prettily inlaid with ivory and ebony' whilst Surat, in Gujarat, was, according to James Ovington, a source of 'Desks, Sutores and Boxes neatly polisht and embellisht' in the late 1680's (Amin Jaffer, Luxury Goods from India, London, 2002, p. 18).

    The small partridges that flank each of the trees on the drawers of this cabinet are closely comparable to those on one in the Victoria and Albert Museum, dated to the early 17th century (no. 15, Jaffer, op. cit., p. 44-45). The general design of the exterior however with the central cusped cartouche on the front and the eight pointed stars on each side relate more closely to a cabinet that was sold in Christie's, Paris, 18 December 2007, lot 133.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.
    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.