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A Beautiful and Elegant Ivory and Ebony inlaid Hoshiapur Corner Cabinet. North India, probably late 19th Century.

The northern district of Hoshiarpur became famous for its fine inlayers in the late 19th century. The inlaying of ivory (dant ka kum), ebony, ebonized wood and brass into wood that came to be applied to objects for both Local and Western consumption started first in the decoration of doors and columns. The character of the designs inlaid at Hoshiapur was Islamic; figures played little role in ornament, which was characterized by geometric motifs and geometrically positioned foliage.

The inlay was executed on locally grown shisham wood and was frequently framed within borders of the heartwood of ebony (known as abnus) and ivory in a chevron pattern. Objects inlaid with ivory were sometimes mounted with narrow strips of brass, which itself was used sometimes for inlay.

W. Coldstream is first credited with marrying the inlay of ivory into western-style furniture. Coldstream was Deputy Commissioner for Hoshiapur District from June 1880 to January 1883. Another instrumental figure, Principal of the Mayo School of Industrial Art, Lahore, John Lockwood Kipling took an active part in directing the skills of the Hoshiapur artisans. The efforts of both these men culminated in the Punjab Exhibition (1881-1882), which was recognized as the most successful of the Punjabi woodworking industries with great exporting potential.

Condition: Excellent
The cabinet height 194 cm including the base, the base height 18 cm
The front width 76.2 cm
The side depth 58 cm


  • Identification Number: 80

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