In ancient India, the thrones were known as "Simhasana", which means "Lion's seat", and were supported by such lions or tigers. "The throne" says A.M. Hocart, "expresses by physical means the King's moral superiority and symbolises a womb of sovereignty". In later 18th and 19th century, thrones and feline animals were worked into the design of European-style chairs.
Before the arrival of Europeans, furniture in India was largely unknown, except for thrones used by the rulers. But from the end of the 16th century, with the founding of the East India Companies, the Europeans, initially the Portuguese, followed by the English and Dutch began to establish trading settlements along the east and west coasts which soon grew into prosperous towns. These settlers were unable to bring much furniture with them, but soon discovered that Indian craftsmen had the extraordinary skill of being able to copy a pattern meticulously. Over time, several schools of furniture makers developed largely determined by the materials available in their region. By the end of the 18th century Indian-made European-style furniture was both aesthetically and technically accomplished.
In the second half of the 19th century, India was represented at the great international exhibitions. The effect of this was two-fold: not only was there an increased fashion for Indian goods in Europe, but the new European styles were quickly adapted to Indian taste. The manufacture of Anglo-Indian furniture by Indian craftsmen has never ceased. (Literature: Amin Jaffer, Furniture in British India, 1750-1830).
Indian silver-mounted furniture has been made to the highest standards of Indian craftmanship, originally made for the maharajahs and rulers in India.
They were used by the King and high-ranking nobility, but were also presented to Governor-Generals as gifts.