Origin: Goa, India
Dating: 17th century
Material: Wood (Teak & Ebony), Ivory & Brass
Dimensions (cm): 118,5 x 105,5 x 54,7
Inv. no.: PD0043
The Cabinet is a type of portable office that allows documents, as well as small valuable objects, to be stored in its drawers. Sometimes, these Cabinets were assembled with locks or secret combination systems.
Originally, it was a piece of furniture that had small compartments with lids and drawers. During the 15th century, in Italy, they began to be used as jewellery boxes.
As time passed by, the design of cabinets underwent several changes in order to adopt the needs, fashion and tastes of the epoch. From a small box divided into drawers, it became a piece of furniture with its own base (in some cases, a table). In other cases, it was a piece of furniture with drawers or doors and, eventually, it was just placed on a frame for support.
These pieces would usually be built by order. The production of these Indo-Portuguese Cabinets began with the work of local craftsmen in some of the Portuguese Trading posts of India: Daman, Goa and Kochi.
The term ‘Indo-Portuguese’ has been used to designate those pieces that were produced between the 16th and 17th centuries, in the context of the excellent Trading relationship between Portugal and India. Nowadays, some people prefer to use the term ‘Indian export for the Portuguese market’.