History In A Box

The exhibition of antique boxes and chests by The Past Perfect Collection highlighted its importance, utilitarian value and craftsmanship in colonial India

11/26/2014 3:42:17 PM
written By : Nithya Subramanian Print

Chests that were traditionally used to store valuables have now become treasured possessions. Not surprising then, that the recently held art exhibition of fine Indo-European boxes and chests titled ‘Boxes, boxes and only boxes’ by The Past Perfect Collection was well-worth a visit for antique lovers.

India Se sat down with Pieter van Houten, curator of the exhibition and owner of The Past Perfect Collection and talked about these wonderful pieces of art dating back to India’s colonial past.

When India was under colonial rule, local artisans created pieces of furniture specifically for expatriate residents and traders. These elegant pieces blended British Regency and Victorian styles with native craftsmanship and typical Indian ornamentation.

According to van Houten, “Because East India officials were required to routinely report on India’s political, agricultural and industrial developments, writing boxes and slopes were indispensable items of furniture. They are frequently decorated with detailed inlay work in woods of contrasting colours such as white cedar and ebony, and elaborate brass inlay in geometric and floral patterns.” 

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