Teak, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell and gilt silver
India, Gujarat, 2nd half of the 16th century
A rare gilt silver mounted Gujarati casket dating from the second half of the 16th century.
Of rectangular shape with truncated pyramidal lid, the present casket sits on four large silver ball feet and is fully covered in Turbo marmoratus mother-of-pearl fish-scale tesserae and circular, stylized lotus flower filled tortoiseshell medallions.
The silver mounts, of identical Indian origin, probably from a Goan workshop, are defined by pierced bands of arabesque motifs fixed to the carcass by delicate flower headed pins, an elegant double headed snake handle, raised box-shaped escutcheon engraved with and elephant pushing a barrel, and a realistic lizard-shaped latch. Unusually, the presetn casket interior and under surface are also decorated (including the lid later lined in crimson silk) in a sophisticated floral pattern and a hunting scene with musket carrying figures dressed in late sixteenth-century European attire (probably Portuguese), and lions symmetrically arranged flanking a vase with flowering branches with birds.
Private collection, Oporto
Height: 24 cm 19 mm , Width: 18 cm , Depth: 16 cm 50 mm
Dimensions in inches:
Height: 9' 1/2, Width: 7' 1/10, Depth: 6' 1/2