A SRI LANKAN OPENWORK-CARVED IVORY AND MICA COVERED WOOD BOX WITH TRAPEZOID-SHAPED LID AND SILVER MOUNTS

Sri Lanka, second half 17th century

The box covered with finely carved openwork ivory, with celestial animals and foliate motif, with two small drawers below a larger one, covered by a trapezoid-shaped lid, the silver lockplate and other mounts elegantly formed.

L. 31.5 x W. 18.5 x H. 20.4 cm

Provenance:
A grandson of general Spoor, by descent from his father and presumably from his grandfather. Simon Hendrik Spoor (1902-1949) was the Chief of Staff of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army and the Royal Dutch Army in the Dutch East Indies, from 1946 to 1949 during the Indonesian National Revolution. In 1942 Spoor belonged to a small group of senior officials and military staff who escaped to Australia after the capitulation of the Dutch Army in Indonesia to the Japanese Army. He was charged with building the Netherlands Forces Intelligence Service (NEFIS) and became a staff member to General Douglas MacArthur during the invasion of Indonesia. Hendrik Spoor died unexpectedly on 25 May 1949 and was buried in the Dutch Military Cemetery in Jakarta among “his men”.


Note:

This form of the chest is already known from ones made for the Portuguese in Sri Lanka in the 16th century. In 1542 the Sri Lankan ambassador to Portugal presented a similarly shaped chest with golden mounts, inlaid with precious stones and ivory panels carved with figurative depictions to Maria Manuela the daughter of the queen of Portugal as a marriage gift. A very similar, slightly smaller box is in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

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