A SRI LANKAN EBONY WALL BRACKET BY DON ANDRIS CABINET MAKERS, COLOMBO
Colombo, first half 19th century, stamped Don Andris, Cabinet Makers Colombo on shelf
The shelf suspended by three foliate motif carved rests and one plain rests to the wall.
H. 50.5 x W. 43 x D. 15.5 cm
According to J.W. Bennett in 1843 (in: Furniture from British India and Ceylon, by Amin Jaffer, 2001) “the master cabinet makers are generally Portuguese, but the workmen Sinhalese”. It is difficult to know exactly what is meant by Portuguese; it may refer to half-caste Portuguese but is more likely to refer to Catholic Sinhalese who had taken on Portuguese names. Sinhalese woodworkers involved in the production of furniture belonged to the Krava caste. Cabinet makers of this caste produced the carved ebony furniture, so highly prized by Europeans. Deep carvings of flowers and foliage was most sought after by indigenous and European consumers on the island in the 19th century. The number of artisans engaged in woodworking was considerable. Records for 1871 indicate that of the 8,651 people recorded in “the Industrial Class” in Colombo District, 5,740 were carpenters (Furniture from British India and Ceylon, Amin Jaffer, V&A Publications 2001, p. 362-364).