The majority of these cabinets were formerly attributed to Goa. A comparable cabinet dated to the 17th Century was originally housed in the Viceroy's Palace in Goa, and is now in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, in Lisbon, inv. 1312, (J. Flores and N. Vassallo e Silva, Goa and the Great Mughal, London, 2004, p. 69). More recent scholarship points to contemporary accounts from European travellers to India. According to the Dutch merchant Francisco Pelsaerts, Tatta, Sindh, was in 1626 a centre of manufacture for 'ornamental desks, writing cases [...] very prettily inlaid with ivory and ebony' and Surat, Gujarat, according to James Ovington was 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.) Goa often served as a gateway for luxury Indian goods destined for the European market.
The side panels on our cabinet in particular are wonderful examples of very fine interlaced heart-shaped scrolling palmettes. A closely comparable cabinet with similar decoration on the side panels was offered at Sotheby's (8 October 2008, lot 187).