19C Anglo Ceylonese Coromandel Shell and Faux Ivory Work Box – EXCEPTIONAL

19C Anglo Ceylonese Coromandel Shell and Faux Ivory Work Box.

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING 19th Century Anglo-Ceylonese ………………. Coromandel, Shell & Faux Ivory Work Box from Colonial Ceylon.

This box was made circa 1870 in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) when it was part of the British Empire….these pieces are often referred to as Anglo-Indian because there was no differentiation between India and Ceylon back then.

It is made of the expensive coromandel wood…..with a gorgeous wave effect on the outside.

It opens to reveal a world of wonders !!!!

The inside of the top is heavily inlaid with bone or faux ivory birds and foliage with the sacred elephant as its central motif.

The box has 2 removeable trays…..the first one is a series of lidded compartments with shell and faux ivory……the faux ivory all hand-painted with various floral designs. Each lis is inlaid with a mosaic type banding made of silver, bone, stained wood etc. The workmanship on this piece is EXTRAORDINARY !!!

The second tray, underneath, would normally be plain…..but not in this box…..it is another tray with various specimen wood lidded compartments….each lid inlaid with satinwood or ebony banding…..an extra touch of QUALITY !!!

We have been collecting these types of boxes for many years (as you can see from extensive collection in this category) …… but this is one of the BEST EVER !!!

There is a crack on the outside of the top lid but this does not detract from its beauty and importance !!

19C Anglo Ceylonese Coromandel Shell and Faux Ivory Work Box.

ANGLO-INDIAN AND CEYLONESE BOXES: Anglo Indian boxes were made in India for the English residents from the early part of the 18th century. They were brought back or sent back to England usually by the people who had commissioned them. From the beginning of the nineteenth century they were imported more commercially, although not in any significant numbers until the middle decades. They were very highly valued, especially the early ones, to the extent that the designs were copied on late 19th and early 20th century tins.

Anglo-Indian Boxes normally consist of 3 main types:-

(1) Most of the best and highest quality Anglo-Indian boxes in the 18th and 19th Centuries were made in Vizagapatam, India………renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship in using ivory and tortoiseshell and lac decoration. These are referred to as ‘Vizagapatam Boxes’.

(2) The Bombay area became famous in the 19th Century for its carving of sandalwood boxes and use of Sadeli Mosaic. These are often referred to ‘Sadeli Boxes’.

(3) Many boxes of exquisite quality and craftsmanship were made in Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka) in the 19th Century. Ceylon was part of the British Indian Colony and was not a seperate Country at that time, hence, the boxes that were made in Ceylon are often categorized as Anglo-Indian. Many of the Anglo-Ceylonese pieces were made in the Goa Region using Porcupine Quill, Coromandel or Salamander wood, ivory, ebony and lac decoration. The Ceylonese lac work was often more colorful than the Vizagapatam classic use of black lac ink.(Lac ink was an indelible ink made from crushing Lac Beetles). Ceylonese boxes and furniture also became famous, due to the use of various exotic specimen woods in the decoration of their boxes and furniture. These specimen wood pieces are HIGHLY PRIZED AND HIGHLY DESIRABLE !!

This box falls into Category 3 above…………………..SPECTACULAR AND RARE !!

COROMANDEL WOOD: Calamander wood or Coromandel wood is a valuable wood from India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and South East Asia. It is of a hazel-brown color, with black stripes (or the other way about), very heavy and hard. It is also known as Macassar Ebony or variegated ebony and is closely related to genuine ebony, but is obtained from different species in the same genus; one of these is Diospyros quaesita Thwaites, from Sri Lanka. The name Calamander comes from the local sinhalese name, ‘kalu-medhiriya’, which means dark chamber; referring to the characteristic ebony black wood. It is used in furniture, Luthiery and for sculpture.

Coromandel wood has been logged to extinction over the last 2 to 3 hundred years and is no longer available for new work in any quantity. Furniture in coromandel is so expensive and so well looked after that even recycling it is an unlikely source. A substitute, Macassar Ebony, has similar characteristics and to the untrained eye is nearly the same but it lacks the depth of colour seen in genuine Coromandel.

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calamander_wood

19C Anglo Ceylonese Coromandel Shell and Faux Ivory Work Box.

Provenance: Part of our extensive Anglo-Indian Collection.

Dimensions: 15″ wide, 10″ deep and 5.5″ tall

Condition: Museum Quality.


19C Anglo-Ceylonese Coromandel, Shell & Faux Ivory Work Box

19C Anglo-Ceylonese Coromandel, Shell & Faux Ivory Work Box

19C Anglo-Ceylonese Coromandel, Shell & Faux Ivory Work Box

19C Anglo-Ceylonese Coromandel, Shell & Faux Ivory Work Box

19C Anglo-Ceylonese Coromandel, Shell & Faux Ivory Work Box

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