Posted on: 14 December 2013

Writng box and games board, rosewood, c.1855 or c.1867, Calcutta.

This writing case has several uses. The lid is marked out for various games, including cribbage, chess and fox and geese. It lifts up and folds out into a velvet-lined writing slope with compartments for ink, pens and paper. The maker has decorated the box with inlay of sadeli, a type of micro-mosaic made up of faceted strips of wood and ivory. The sadeli technique was widely practised in the area around Bombay. This piece was made in Calcutta, probably by a family of sadeli artisans who had migrated there from Bombay at sometime round about the 1850s.

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