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Antique Anglo-Indian Vizagapatam Jewelry Inlaid Sadeli Footed Box

About the Item

Antique 19th century Anglo-Indian jewelry, trinket footed box, inlay with ebony, mosaic marquetry Sadeli work and a carved Hindu scene on top. The box case is made from sandalwood with highly hand-carved padouk wood reliefs on all sides and banded and edged in fabulous Sadeli Mosaic, made from bone, ebony, in various geometric patterns. The carving lid and sides of this box is fabulous! The ancient art of Sadeli Mosaic is said to have been introduced from Shiraz in Persia via Sind to Bombay, a long time before the Anglo Indian boxes were made. The workmanship was however more than commensurable to the value of the materials. Hand carved on the top with a scene of Vishnu in the center and 2 Indian ladies worshiper on each side making offering. The box is finely hand carved on top and on each side and inlay with mosaic marquetry in mother of pearl and bone. The sides and rear have highly carved foliage relief panels. The lid opens to reveal the original blue velvet lining (also on the base).It has its key but not working lock. It sits on it’s four original brass turned ball feet. Anglo-Indian Vizagapatam box. Circa 1880-1890. DIMENSIONS: Height: 3.25 in Width: 9 in Depth: 6.5 in. History of the Anglo-Indian Boxes: Beginning in the early part of the 18th century, Indian artisans made what came to be known as Anglo-Indian boxes for the English residents living in India, who eventually brought or sent them back to England. At the beginning of the 19th century, India began exporting these boxes commercially, although not in any significant numbers until the 1850s. People valued them so highly that manufacturers of tins copied the designs on them in the late 19th and early 20th century. Carved boxes often combined with Sadeli mosaic. The first two categories came from Vizagapatam in East India while the last two came from Bombay in West India. English traders discovered the rich woods and intricate workmanship of Indian artisans, so colonial government officials began to recognize the work of the Indian artists and craftsmen as a source for satisfying the need for furniture and boxes, which would both serve to enhance English households in India. This gave rise to the cabinetmaking workshops in Vizagapatam between Calcutta and Madras. Craftsmen made the first boxes to be decorated with Sadeli mosaic incised to give further definition to the decoration, directly inlaid into the wood. The shape of the early boxes was either sloping at the front with a flatter section at the back, reminiscent of English writing slopes, or rectangular. Artisans inlaid the borders with stylized floral scrolls and the centers with a single floral motif following a circular or oval symmetrical or asymmetrical pattern. About Vishnu: Vishnu is one of the principal deities in Hinduism. He is often considered one of the Trimurti, which consists of the three main gods in Hinduism: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Vishnu is known as the Preserver or Sustainer of the universe, and his role is to maintain cosmic order (dharma) and protect the world from various threats and challenges. Vishnu is typically depicted as a blue-skinned deity with four arms, holding various symbols and weapons. He is often shown resting on the serpent Shesha (Adi Shesha) in the cosmic ocean. Vishnu is associated with qualities such as compassion, mercy, and benevolence, and he is believed to incarnate on Earth whenever there is a decline in dharma (righteousness) and a rise in adharma (unrighteousness) to restore balance and order. These incarnations are known as avatars, with the most famous being Rama and Krishna. Devotees of Vishnu worship him in various forms and aspects, and he is a central figure in many Hindu religious texts, including the Vedas, the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavad Gita. Vishnu's consort is the goddess Lakshmi, who represents wealth and prosperity, and they are often worshipped together. Vishnu is also associated with several other deities and forms, such as Narayana and Vasudeva, among others, depending on the specific tradition and beliefs within Hinduism. The ancient art of Sadeli Mosaic is said to have been introduced from Shiraz in Persia via Sind to Bombay, a long time before the Anglo Indian boxes were made. It was a technique, which required a high degree of skill and patience. It was executed very lavishly, in that the frequent cuts wasted a great amount of the precious materials used. The workmanship was however more than commensurable to the value of the materials.
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