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    Sale 7571

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    8 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 281

    A LACQUERED WOODEN TURBAN BOX

    SINDH, INDIA, EARLY 18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A LACQUERED WOODEN TURBAN BOX
    SINDH, INDIA, EARLY 18TH CENTURY
    Of cylindrical form with separate domed lid attached on two sides by steel hinges, the body with two main decorative registers composed of marching soldiers, some riding animals and others walking or being carried, the lid similarly decorated with one register of seated deities and another of dancing characters, some chips in the lacquer and a number of cracks in the wood
    10¼in. (26.1cm.) high; 15in. (38.1cm.) diam.


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    The technique used to decorate this most unusual box is one that has a long history in the Islamic and Indian worlds, being found in Mamluk examples from the 14th or 15th centuries, and also from earlier Afghanistan. Layers of different coloured lac are built up on the surface, normally from light colours first to darker ones on top. The design is then carefully incised through the upper layers to leave the colours that are required for the design.

    The present turban box very clearly and cleverly differentiates the decoration between the base and the cover. The base represents the terrestrial world with a procession of soldiers, nobles in palanquins and mounted princes. The cover appropriately is for the celestial world. The outer band is a succession of various deities including the avatars of Vishnu and various figures from the Ramayana. These circle around a succession of dancing gopis all of whom are dancing individually as part of the rasamandala, the great dance with the central figure of Krishna.

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