The art of Indian ivory carvers was world-famous already in the ancient times. In the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese founded their factories on the coast of South India and Sri Lanka (Ceylon). They ordered furniture and various other objects to local craftsmen. Expensive caskets, cabinets and chests in the “Indian-Portuguese” style began to fill the European market.
An antiquarian’s tag on the bottom of this casket indicates that it must have been bought in France.
This casket displays the main peculiarities of the “Indian-Portuguese” style: its shape is European, but the complicated ornament of curly plants and images of mythical creatures, birds and small animals is typical of the Singhalese craftsmen.