AN INDIAN EBONY SIDE CHAIR
South-India/Coromandel coast, 1680-1700
Throughout carved with floral and vine motifs, the back rail with oval wreath containing a bird, on four connected spiral legs and bun feet, the upholstery of later date.
H. 99 x W. 57.5 x D. 48 cm
Seat height 49.5 cm
This carved ebony chair contains elements that are usually attributed to different areas of origin. The way the flowers and scrolling vines are carved is usually thought to be from Ceylon or Batavia under Dutch influence. But the form of the spiral of the legs and particularly the oval wreath with the bird in the back rail are much more typical of Indian carvings from the Coromandel Coast (see: Jan Veenendaal, Furniture from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India during the Dutch period, Pl. 20). Another wreathed bird is present in the elaborately carved head-board of an ebony four-poster bed in the collection of Countess Reventlow, Brahe-Trolleborg Castle, near Copenhagen, illustrated in Het Hollandsche Koloniale Barokmeubel, Dr, V. I. Van de Wall, fig. 106 and 113. Since carvings of animals in ebony chairs are not known in chairs made in (Muslim) Batavia and most of the ebony chairs that do have carvings of animals, turn up in England, it is likely this chair was made in (Hindu) India, possibly under Dutch influence.