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An exquisite Dutch-colonial satinwood, sono keeling, Macassar ebony, teak and bone-inlaid miniature bureau-cabinet

Batavia (Jakarta) or Sri Lanka, 18th century, with later added ‘historismus’ figures

H. 87 x W. 46 x D. 23 cm

Miniature furniture was very popular in the former Dutch East Indies during the 18th century, being made in Batavia as well as Sri Lanka. Pieces were too large to have been product samples from a particular workshop, nor apprentice pieces, as they might have been in the Netherlands. Instead, they were probably made on order by wealthy women who collected miniature items, in the same way as doll’s houses were collected in the Netherlands. After all, a fully furnished doll’s house would not withstand the critters and the heat of the tropics. The robust hardwood miniature furniture could even function as a collector's cabinet for small precious items and jewellery.

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