Indian mother-of-pearl wooden casket romps past $237K at Bonhams Skinner

Indian mother-of-pearl inlaid wood casket, $237,500. Image courtesy of Bonhams Skinner

Indian mother-of-pearl inlaid wood casket, $237,500. Image courtesy of Bonhams Skinner

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. – Bonhams Skinner’s third sale of treasured objects from eclectic collector Jim Dixon’s impressive collection hammered at double the high estimate range. The online auction ran from June 5 to June 15 and featured hundreds of lots of Japanese, Chinese, Middle Eastern, American and African art and also antiques and vintage collectables, including the largest collection of Buddhist monk’s robes (aka kesas) Skinner has ever brought to auction. The top lot of the sale, an exceptional Indian mother-of-pearl inlaid wood casket, achieved $237,500. It had been estimated at $8,000-$12,000.

Likely dating from the later part of the 16th century, the casket is a prime example of the stunning inlaid woodwork that was a part of the rich tradition of arts and crafts in the Indian state of Gujarat. The earliest known example dates from the early 16th century, when such caskets would have contained a wedding dowry and been highly decorated to mark the occasion.

The beauty of this particular box is enhanced by a balanced, alternating design of trees and geometric patterns created entirely from inlaid mother-of-pearl, with some of the colored shells overlaid in multiple layers to enhance the fluorescent brilliance that catches the eye without fail.

 

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