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Vizagapatam, second half 19th century

Sandalwood, veneered with engraved ivory, the interior lined with white metal.

H. 12 x W. 16 x D. 8.7 cm (each)


Vizagapatam became a centre of furniture making with engraved ivory inlay and veneer for the Western market from the 17th till the 20th century. Examples of European marquetry on boxes and weapons may have provided the inspiration for the initial production of ivory inlaid furniture in Vizagapatam after the Dutch founded a trading post there in 1628 and the English in 1668. After Vizagapatam and the surrounding area were ceded to the English East India Company in 1768 ivory, which had hitherto been restricted to inlay and borders, came increasingly to be used as sheets of veneer covering the entire surface of the piece of furniture. Possibly because African ivory became more easily available, veneering required less time and skill than inlaying and also because of the growing tastes for the neoclassical.

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