Description & Technical information

This games table has an octagonal drum supported by a facetted foliate-carved pedestal with a cross-shaped base. The drum contains four lockable drawers: one of the drawers is fitted with compartments for game pieces, another one has a fine foliate carved interior. The chessboard is inlaid with ivory, while the borders of the table, including the borders of the pedestal base, are veneered with sadeli technique. The fine, low-relief wood carving that covers the rest of the surface consists of figures of Hindu deities, architecture (most likely temples) and animals, all against a background of dense foliage. 
The sadeli technique is a geometric micromosaic composed of various woods, metals and ivory veneered over the carcass of a wooden object, in parquety with other materials or as a border for carved sandalwood or ebony panels. First appeared in mid-16th century Shiraz, Iran, this technique travelled to the Bombay Presidency, including Bombay, Surat, Ahmedabad and Bilimora in the late 18th century, and was commonly applied to portable objects and furniture. The richly carved sandalwood panels were probably inspired by works from Mysore and Canara, which had sophisticated low-relief designs.
Games tables of similar concept can be found in Victoria & Albert Museum (335:1 to 35-1907) and Art Gallery of South Australia (20158F4).

Further reading:
Jaffer, Amin. Furniture from British India and Ceylon: A Catalogue of the Collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum. 1st ed. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2001.
Jaffer, Amin. Luxury Goods from India: The Art of the Indian Cabinet-Maker. 1st ed. London: V&A Publications, 2002.

Stock no. : A3110

Date:  19th century
Origin:  India
Categories: Works of Art