19th Century Burmese Carved Chestnut Trunk Coffee Table with Inside Compartments
This is a very rare antique Victorian colonial teak Mandalay campaign box, possibly used by an officer or government official in the British Raj or military in Burma while on campaign, circa 1860. Made of chestnut, the piece is simply finished on all five sides, including the back, with brass decor inlaid flat into the wood and a small hidden door with original lock and key on the front left. Two metal latches on the lid flip down to allow for locking, with a third and main locking mechanism in the center with a keyhole. Underneath this central point is the insignia “MDY BOX” inlaid in brass. The versatile trunk or cocktail table features a top lid door that opens to reveal an elaborately carved facade reminiscent of South Asian architecture and design in front of fabric flowers and glass backing, with a panel designed with small doors that can be removed to allow access to the interior of the trunk. The cabinet is in excellent condition with a rich walnut patina and wonderful patinated brass hardware; functional, the cabinet could be used as a coffee table, or set against a wall as a storage unit. This box is a beautiful and truly classic example from the late Victorian period in colonial Burma and is highly decorative and unique, and displays incredible attention to detail and craftsmanship. Mandalay is the second-largest city in Myanmar, after Yangon. Throughout the colonial years (1885–1948), Mandalay was the centre of Burmese culture and Buddhist learning, and as the last royal capital prior to British occupation, was regarded by the Burmese as a primary symbol of sovereignty and identity. During colonial occupation, the British view on the development of Mandalay (and Burma) was mainly with commercial intentions. While rail transport reached Mandalay in 1889, less than four years after the annexation, the first college in Mandalay, Mandalay College, was not established until 40 years later, in 1925. During the occupancy the British looted the royal palace at Mandalay, with some of the treasures going on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum; in 1964 they were returned to Burma as a gesture of goodwill. Measures: 39.5″ W x 19.5″ D x 24″ H.
|Dimensions||39.5" W x 19.5" D x 24" H|
|Place of Origin||