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Fine Monghyr Sewing Box

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A fine ebony sewing box of sarcophagus shape, ivory inlaid to the top and front with a design of meandering leaves and flowers; within is a series of compartments, those around the outer edge are covered with ebony lids carved with radiating starbursts and with turned ivory lifts, the smaller central divisions are composed on a lift out tray. Beneath is a drawer secured by an ebony pin, again with a turned ivory pull. Indian, Monghyr, circa 1840.  

w:12 1/8 in x d: 8 1/8 in x 5 1/2 in

Production of goods from Monghyr for the west was far less than that from other regions of India. The port city of Monghyr had flourished briefly in the mid 18th century when Mir Kassim, Newab of Bengal, made the place his capital and established an arsenal there. The skill of inlaying ivory into wood was developed during this period for decorating the locally produced arms. It is a technique not found elsewhere in the region. During the middle decades of the 19th century, Europeans, travelling upstream to Lucknow and Delhi would stop at Monghyr, providing a ready demand for the fine inlaid goods from the local workshops and inspiring their regeneration. This work was shown at The Great Exhibition of 1851, Vienna in 1873 and at the Calcutta Exhibition of 1883-4; however, by this time the industry was in a state of deep decline with few carpenters active in the trade.  

Ivory registered with DEFRA

Item Code: 3903

£ 2400

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