Luxury Goods from India: The Art of the Indian Cabinet-maker
Book Reference: ISBN-10: 0810965992 Hardcover: 112 pages
The breathtaking craftsmanship in the creations Amin describes is to be
Some of this amazing work from the time/place still survives. In each object
there is so much work-time: designing, making a carcass with joinery often in
rosewood, which was grown for purpose; veneering with ivory, incising the
ivory dealing with the client. There is scraping turning carving with hand
So many hours of human time is recorded in every surviving
Although many of the shapes are from English designers such as
Chippendale, Sheraton, and Hepplewhite. The marriage of Indian artistic creative
skilled art resulted in Art at its highest.
These pieces will never be made again. With CITES prohibitions many of the
materials are no longer allowed to be used.
We must look after what still exists, they are the human inheritance
|Many of these masterpieces were made to satisfy the demand of the colonial powers: the Portuguese, Dutch and British settlers who arrived on Indian shores from the late 15th century. They discovered, to their surprise, rare articles of courtly furniture richly worked and inlaid with precious stones and gold. However there was no local furniture that suited the settlers' manner of living, so they commissioned extravagant pieces along European lines from native craftsmen, allowing them free rein with local materials. The resulting fusion of Western forms with Indian materials and decorative techniques gave rise to a wide range of luxury goods - cabinets, game-tables, painted boxes, ceremonial arms - that were breathtaking in their craftsmanship and widely prized in Europe, where they found their way into royal collections, ecclesiastical treasuries and stately houses. The fifty pieces in this volume, dating from the 15th to the late 19th century, demonstrate the diversity and skill of Indian craftsmanship and tell a fascinating story about the changing role of domestic objects and their use in the subcontinent. They illustrate the subtle interaction between European and Indian tastes and sensibilities, and chart the course of colonial patronage. Many pieces illustrated here have never been published before, and Amin Jaffer's scholarly yet accessible text throws new light on a rich and largely unexplored tradition.
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Below are some boxes I have
documented on our site. It is becoming increasingly hard to find examples which
have survived with their integrity
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History of boxes | The