This unusual cabinet displays the blend of East and West seen in Colonial furniture and is typical of the work from the former Portuguese colony of Goa. The pattern of intersecting circles that covers the surfaces is closely comparable to a similar cabinet in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Amin Jaffer, Luxury Goods from India, London, 2002, no. 22, pp. 58-9, inv.777-1865). It is a commonly reproduced motif and can also be found on a small cabinet in Lisbon (Jorge Floresa dn Nuno Vassallo e Silva (eds.), Goa and the Great Mughal (exhibition catalogue), Lisbon, 2004, p.111, cat.117). Jaffer writes of the pattern that it is also found on articles commissioned by the Portuguese in other parts of Asia - for instance on the namban lacquer of Japan (Jaffer, op. cit., p. 58).
The sculptural treatment of the legs on this cabinet, and others of the group is particularly distinctive. They typically assume the form with a woman with a lower body scaled like a sea serpent. Scholars have identified these with nagas and naginis - Hindu snake divinities that are considered auspicious and area believed to provide protection from dangers, including snake bites.
Two closely related examples were sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 6 October 2009, lots 268 and 269. Another cabinet was sold anonymously, Christie's, Melbourne, 17 September 2002, lot 632.