Silver-mounted coromandel casket

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Late 17th - early 18th century
Coromandel, silver
19 cm
48 cm
33 cm

The collection of Peter Petrou

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This Indo-Portuguese colonial casket is made of coromandel wood. The chest with waving sides and front has applied silver escutcheons and loop handles on the sides. There are two decorated hinges on the inside of the lid. Coromandel wood is a hardwood that is native to India and Sri Lanka and is renowned for its beautiful strikes of deep black and brown. The name ‘coromandel’ is derived from the Coromandel Coast in India, the place where the wood was first exported by the Portuguese to Europe. The chest is standing on ball feet.

The casket shows the influence of the European export market on local Indian works of art. The casket was intended for export and is reminiscent of an European shape, executed in the exotic coromandel wood and with Indian escutcheons. Caskets like this were used for the storage of documents, small valuable items and writing materials, but also functioned as a status symbol.  


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