Lacquer box "Rajasthan"

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Rajasthan/Gujarat, India, 20th century, private collection from Finland.

Indian cinnabar red lacquer boxes are true works of art and this small round lacquer box is an fascinating example. Lacquer boxes are commonly used in Rajasthan and Gujarat, India for storing jewellery or Tika. ”Tika” or ”Tilakam” is a ritual mark worn usually on the forehead, made with yoghurt and sindoor. Sindoor is traditionally applied at the parting-line of a woman’s hair (called ”mang” in Hindi) or as a dot on the forehead. Sindoor is the mark of a married woman in Hinduism. Single woman wear the bindi, but do not apply sindoor in their parting of the hairline.

This lovely example of small lacquer container is constructed of coils of bamboo slivers or/and papier-mâché that have been applied with several layers of lacquer and incised decoration in a foliage design. Quite intricate designs can be created by the craftsman using different techniques. Patterns have been incised through the top layer of lacquer revealing colours beneath. Good quality lacquer pots are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Good condition. Age-related wear, abrasion and minor surface cracking to the lacquer. Size approx. 7,0cm x 7,0cm x 5,6cm.