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An important bone inlaid ebony Anglo-Indian side chair
India, Coromandel Coast, 1650-1680

H. 97 x W. 56.5 x D. 48 cm

This rare and important ebony chair is related to a fine group of carved ebony pieces. A mixture of Hindu and Christian motifs is fused, suggesting that the furniture makers were Indian converts to the Portuguese Catholic faith. These low-relief carved chairs with dense foliage and birds adorning the splats were not in the Dutch taste and seldom turn up in the Netherlands. Since they do turn up in English country houses, they were probably intended for the English market. Therefore, the present chair was perhaps made in Madras along the southern Coromandel Coast, where the English influence was much stronger than the Dutch.

The present chair is profusely carved in low relief with bold floral motifs, the top and bottom back rail centred by winged (Christian) angels or cherub heads. The uprights are mounted with finials in the form of parrots, a common symbol in Dravidian Hindu art from South India and Sri Lanka.

Collection Jan Veenendaal, the Netherlands

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