PRESENTING A BEAUTIFUL and RARE 19C Anglo Ceylonese Specimen Wood Trinket Box.

Made in ‘Galle’, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) circa 1860-80.

Made for the export market to Britain and sold mainly to British aristocrats and diplomats.

The box is made from sandalwood, ebony, bone and exotic specimen hardwood triangles, all over the top, front, back and sides.

Casket in shape and form with a raised platform top.

Each exotic specimen hardwood triangle is inlaid between and bordered by ebony banding, each profusely inlaid with circular bone inserts of alternating sizes.

The box has it’s original lock and catch and is hinged to the rear to lift upwards.

The inside of the lid/top is beautifully decorated with, again, ebony banding with bone circle inserts and a rectangular central ebony plaque with it’s central motif being, a hand-painted Asian Elephant with rider and bejeweled headdress and back cloth. This stands above a plaque insert that reads: “GALLE” and is flanked by a pair of large circular bone inserts with beautiful hand-painted flower blossom in the center. The lid interior has red velvet lining.

It sits on 4 ebony button feet (a recent repair/replacement) with painted ivory circles to replicate the rest of the piece.

There are letters/numbers engraved into part of the base which are difficult to decipher but look like: “MO 2148”. We do not think they have any great significance and are probably the makers initials and model number.

It is in very good condition for it’s age and construction, but has had some necessary repairs carried out over the years, namely, a number of the circular bone inserts have been replaced with faux bone filler, their is a small repair to the right rear hinge on the interior. The button feet are later replacements but look great with the piece. One of the ebony bands on the lid interior (top right) is a replacement with painted bone circles. Some very minor cracks to the specimen wood triangles through age, but nothing that in any way detracts from the piece. No key.

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 the latter part of Category 3 above – BEAUTIFUL AND RARE!

We have other OUTSTANDING Anglo-Ceylonese Specimen Wood pieces in our Collection and this one is a perfect little addition to that Collection. It would look great along with any of those other pieces.

To explore them – just type ‘Ceylonese’ into the ‘Search’ facility on this page (right margin) and hit return and you will see them!

19C Anglo Ceylonese Specimen Wood Trinket Box.

Provenance: Part of our Extensive Anglo-Indian Collection.

Dimensions: Closed the Box is 8.25 inches Wide, 6 inches Deep and 3.25 inches Tall

Fully Open the box is 8.5 inches Tall

Condition: Good condition. Some repairs (see full listing). No Key.

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