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Ivory Cabinet
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Ivory Cabinet

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Such cabinets were produced in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) off the western coast of India on commission from Portuguese traders for the European market by the mid 16th century. The shape and function are European, but the subject and style of the elaborate carving, including perforation of the ivory plaques that make it up, are characteristic of Ceylon. The plaques of ivory are carved in low relief, backed by sheets of tortoise shell and with silver fittings (corner pieces, rivets, key plates, original key and handles). On the front, the upper drawer is decorated with confronted lions spewing scrolls enclosed in borders of quatrefoils and beading; the lower two drawers have key plates and scrolling, with identical borders. On the sides are square central panels with winged leonine fantastic creatures with reptilian scaled tails (serapendiyas) enclosed in borders surrouned by scrolling and framed with borders. On the top are two confronted leonine creatures, similar to those on the sides, enclosed in beaded ovals and scrollwork, further enclosed in a border with outer scrolling and border. On the back is an oblong field with fragment of leonine creature enclosed in beaded frame with elaborate scrolling and border. The underside is composed of plain ivory. There is also a small section of border in the upper drawer.
  • Indian and Southeast Asian Ivories: Selections from Local Collections. Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn. 1982.
Provenance Sale, Sotheby's, New York; Peter Marks Gallery, New York [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1999, by gift.
Credit Gift of the Friends of the Asian Collection, 1999

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ca. 1550-1575
ivory, tortoise shell, wood, silver
(Ivory & Bone)
Accession Number
with handles, without key: 6 x 8 15/16 x 5 9/16 in. (15.3 x 22.7 x 14.2 cm)


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