The ivory inlaid doors of this unassuming table cabinet open to reveal a wealth of ornate adornment, which in turn conceals numerous drawers and compartments. Such cabinets were closely associated with the contemporary craze for Kunstkammern, or cabinets of curiosities, and in Augsburg, the centre of the industry, noblemen and wealthy burghers could even buy examples ready-filled with exotic artifacts by the art dealer, collector and diplomat Philipp Hainhofer (1578-1647).The style of this cabinet, made of ebony with silver mounts, was popularised by the Augsburg silversmith Matthias Walbaum (active 1590-1632). Examples of his extravagant caskets can be seen in the British Museum and the Grünes Gewölbe, Dresden, although his most ambitious work, the exterior of the famous Pommersche Kunstschrank, a sumptuous art cabinet compiled by Hainhofer for the Duke of Pomerania, was destroyed in World War II. These ebony and ivory cabinets may be associated with Walbaum, but this example relates more closely to pieces by other silversmiths in his circle, such as the cabinet by Boas Ulrich in the Victoria and Albert museum, London, (acc. no. M.511 to K-1956) which includes similar floral and scrolling mounts, executed in silver-gilt as well as silver. There would have been many silversmiths working in Augsburg to supply the cabinet makers with this type of mount, and this casket relates more closely still to an unmarked travelling table casket, sold Christie's, London, 10 December 1991, lot 33, which likewise has a deeply moulded architectural façade concealing a multitude of drawers and compartments.