Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Casket with geometric and foliate decoration


    • First floor | Room 33 | Mughal India

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum by J. C. Harle and Andrew Topsfield

    Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum

    The production of wooden furniture decorated with overlaid pieces of iridescent mother-of-pearl set in dark lac was an important luxury handicraft of Western India in the 16th and 17th centuries. Examples of the technique survive in India in the cenotaph canopies at three tombs of Sufi Shaikhs, two of them at Ahmedabad and the other in the shrine of Nitzām ud-Dīn Auliyā’ at Delhi. However much of the production was intended for export to foreign markets, including Ottoman Turkey and Europe. The approximately thirty surviving examples include a throne, a book-rest, pen-boxes, writing chests and a number of caskets with bevelled lids. One of the latter, in Dresden, has an inventory date of 1602 and displays a very similar spade-shaped tree device to the present casket, which in spite of a slight coarseness in its decoration can therefore be dated to just before 1600. Its sides are decorated with medallions containing stylised interlaced foliate decoration, interspersed with palm tress and leafy fronds. The flat surface of the lid is executed in a similar style, but its sloping sides have geometric ornament of repeated hexagons and diamonds characteristic of Ottoman work, and it has been suggested that the casket was probably made for the Ottoman market. The chinoiserie base is a later replacement.

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