Ottoman mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell marquetry overlaid furniture of the sixteenth and seventeenth century is typified by the complex geometric patterning of the inlay including such shapes as pentagons, together with bands of stringing between each of the larger panels. Here the stringing is of a rare type, being formed of chequered bands. This is paralelled in two items. One, a qur'an box in the Türk ve Islam Eserleri Müzesi originates from the türbe of Sultan Selim II and is thus datable to the second half of the sixteenth century, (Atil, no.111, ill. p. 172). This however has chequered bands worked on the diagonal rather than on the square as here. The other was a scribe's table dated circa 1600, on the London market recently (Grünberg and Torn, no.47), which resembled this tabouret closer. The complexity of the geometry of this tabouret and the London scribe's table is also very close, and that example also included floral panels in the side. It is the inclusion of floral motifs within the geometric patterning in this piece, presaging the style of the eighteenth century, the leads us to ascribe to it a date in the seventeenth century.
This tabouret thus appears to be the earliest published example of a type that became very popular in the nineteenth century.
Atil, E.: The Age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, Washington D.C., 1987
Grünberg, E. and Torn, E.M.: Four Centuries of Ottoman Taste, London 1988