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MXD 255
MXD 255

Mother-of-pearl-inlaid Casket

MXD 255

Gujarat, India

16th century

MXD 255
MXD 255. front
MXD 25, side

Mother-of-pearl-inlaid Casket

MXD 255

Gujarat, India

16th century

teak, mother-of-pearl, black lacquer, and gilt metal

20 x 33.4 x 19.7cm

The Portuguese in India were the first of the European colonisers to appreciate the skill of Indian craftsmen and sponsored an export trade in works of art, very often copying European originals. They catered in particular for the vogue in 16th-century princely collections for objects – gaming-boards, drinking vessels, ewers and basins, caskets and even shields – decorated with oriental mother-of-pearl set in black lacquer, which were often given mounts of precious metal. Caskets such as this were particularly in demand in Habsburg Europe as reliquaries, and many of their mounts bear the marks of Augsburg, Nuremberg and Leipzig goldsmiths.

J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.361, p.304.