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Mid Century Syrian Moorish Inlaid White Hard Wood Dowry Box Chest - $899 (Irvine orange county)

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condition: excellent
Syrian mother of pearl inlaid wooden wedding or dowry chest. The trunk is profusely inlaid with intricate geometric designs in mother of pearl in the intarsia* method. The hinged lid lifts to reveal an unlined interior with a suspended box to the right side.

Approximately: 21 1/2 inches wide; 11 inches deep; 13 1/2 inches high

Stunning mosaic, geometric design, and gorgeous craftsmanship. This work is made of beautiful dark wood and shell (likely mother of pearl) and/or bone inlay. The iron handles are also a nice touch. A genuine work of art. A very eye-catching and unique piece. Would clearly stand out in any setting.

The use of mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell was prevalent within the Ottoman Empire by the second half of the 16th century. This technique of inlaying mother-of-pearl reached a high standard under the Ottoman Turks after the establishment of a court workshop that specialised in mother-of-pearl inlay.

For centuries across much of the globe, it has been the custom for women to bring with them on marriage not only money, but also linen, personal clothes and jewelry.

In many parts of the world, gifts passed to a newly formed household for the new bride—the dowry, whether it may be called that or not—often set a course for a marriage, and sometimes affect its success. Often in times past—and in some places still today—these goods were packed into a chest, traditionally made of wood and typically decorated as richly as means would allow, the better to show it off as a status symbol when the bride arrived at her new home. Across the Middle East, where houses were traditionally sparsely furnished, such a dowry chest would often be placed in the woman’s area, where it could quietly continue to announce its status and serve as an item of practical furniture.

Along with one or more large chests, the young bride would often bring a smaller box for her jewelry and makeup. (See smaller wood boxes with similar inlay currently listed).

Small jewel boxes to accompany the bride continued to be popular well into the 20th century. A hardwood box often made in Damascus using camel bone or mother-of-pearl inlay, has historically been favored by wealthy Bedouin.

* The technique of intarsia inlays sections of wood (at times with contrasting ivory or bone, or mother-of-pearl) within the solid stone matrix of floors and walls or on table tops and other furniture;




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