A HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND ROYAL INDO-PORTUGUESE IVORY-INLAID INDIAN-ROSEWOOD, PADOUK AND HARDWOOD CABINET-ON-STAND (CONTADOR)
A HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND ROYAL INDO-PORTUGUESE IVORY-INLAID INDIAN-ROSEWOOD, PADOUK AND HARDWOOD CABINET-ON-STAND (CONTADOR)
A HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND ROYAL INDO-PORTUGUESE IVORY-INLAID INDIAN-ROSEWOOD, PADOUK AND HARDWOOD CABINET-ON-STAND (CONTADOR)
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A HIGHLY IMPORTANT AND ROYAL INDO-PORTUGUESE IVORY-INLAID INDIAN-ROSEWOOD, PADOUK AND HARDWOOD CABINET-ON-STAND (CONTADOR)
9 More
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more THE BRAGANZA AND HOHENZOLLERN 'CONTADOR'
A ROYAL INDO-PORTUGUESE IVORY-INLAID INDIAN-ROSEWOOD AND PADOUK CABINET-ON-STAND (CONTADOR)

LATE 17TH CENTURY, GOA

Details
A ROYAL INDO-PORTUGUESE IVORY-INLAID INDIAN-ROSEWOOD AND PADOUK CABINET-ON-STAND (CONTADOR)
LATE 17TH CENTURY, GOA
The upper section with eight short drawers and centred by a deep drawer, decorated on the top and sides with etched and stained ivory inlay forming scrolling foliate tendrils with figures of naginas to each corner and lion-heads, the frontal drawers with a design of scrolling tendrils issuing serpent heads and with frontal human faces on each corner, the middle, rectangular section with two long drawers with similar designs to front and sides, the stand with two hinged doors and large compartments between a sculpted nagina, raised on legs sculpted as winged animals supporting four corner caryatid figures, with brass plaque to reverse of upper section engraved 'F.R.' and with old collection label to underside
56 ½ in. (143.5 cm.) high; 35 ½ in. (90 cm.) wide; 36 ¼ in. (92 cm.) deep
Provenance
H.M. Queen Maria de Gloria II of Portugal and the Algarves (1819-1853), and her husband, Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1816-1865), King Consort of Portugal (1837-1853), and Regent of the Kingdom of Portugal (1853-1855).
By descent to their youngest daughter Infanta Antónia of Portugal (1845-1913) who married Leopold, Prince of Hohenzellern-Sigmaringen (1835-1905) in 1861.
By descent at Schloss Sigmaringen, Baden-Württemberg, until 2000.
Aus Deutschen Schlössern "Ancestral Attics"; sold Sotheby's, Schloss Monrepos, 9-14 October 2000, lot 100.
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.
This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.
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Lot Essay

THE PROVENANCE
This remarkable Indo-Portuguese cabinet from Goa has an illustrious and noble provenance; it was in the collection of three European royal houses, Braganza, Saxe-Coburg and Hohenzollern from at least the mid-19th century, and probably earlier. Given its multifaceted and elaborate ornamentation, it seems likely it was a special commission for the Portuguese Royal family. The royal provenance is strengthened by the appearance of a brass inventory plaque with the initials ‘F.R.’, referring to Prince Ferdinand of Saxe Coburg and Gotha, King Consort of Portugal and Regent, who married Maria de Gloria II, Queen of Portugal and the Algarves on 9 April 1836. Furthermore, the cabinet is adorned on the top and sides with lion insignia, symbols of royalty and power. This cabinet was possibly in situ at the Royal residence, the Moorish-style Pena Palace, a castle that Ferdinand had built on the highest peak of the forest-clad mountain of Cintra (M. Bence-Jones, ‘A Castle for a Prince: The Pena Palace, Portugal’, Country Life Annual, 1972, pp. 93-95).

THE CABINET
This cabinet is a fne example of Western-form, deriving from a cabinet-on-stand or contador, which successfully complements Mughal-inspired Gujarati and Sindh ornamentation. Goa, the Indian state from where this cabinet originates, was part of the Portuguese Overseas Empire from the 16th century until 1961, when Portugal effectively lost control of the territory to India. 17th and 18th century inventories suggest there was a considerable amount of Indo-Portuguese work made in Goa and other Portuguese cities on the west coast of India, and mutual trade between India and Portugal was extensive.

This cabinet displays the Portuguese fascination for small intricate and concentrated designs that recall textiles, and for ornamentation covering the entire surface, both inspired by Mughal marquetry. It is comparable with writing boxes and table cabinets produced in Gujarat and Sindh during Mughal imperial rule in the 16th and 17th centuries that feature geometric ornamentation with foliate scrolls, for example, a small fall-front cabinet in the Victoria & Albert Museum (317-1866) and a pair of rosewood cabinets inlaid and veneered with ivory, ebony and exotic woods at Charlecote Park, Warwickshire (NT 532996.1, 2). This cabinet is inlaid with polychrome-tinted ivory, including green, a colour particularly associated with Mughal-inspired Gujarati designs.

Further characteristics that identify this cabinet as Indo-Portuguese are the sculptural treatment of the corner caryatid figures, central nagina, and legs conceived as four-winged birds. Zoomorphic-form feet are also found on a 17th century contador in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon (no. 1312), and on a similarly-dated contador in the Victoria & Albert museum (781&A-1865). These birds have been identifed by scholars as Jatayu, king of the vultures, a central figure in the Ramayana (A. Jafer, Luxury Goods from India, London, 2002, pp. 56-57, no. 21). It has been suggested that the solid ivory components of this cabinet were probably carved by Chinese craftsmen working in Goa, or alternatively were commissioned from the Chinese ivory workshops in Macau, another Portuguese colony.

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