Nineteenth Century French Wooden Black Lacquer Box with Abalone Inlay

A true beauty, the intricate Abalone shell inlay reflects an entire rainbow of colors!

This sumptuous black wooden box dates from the late 19th century, when dark lacquer was very much in vogue. It is exquisitely ornamented, by the use of fine gilt painting and delicate Abalone seashell inlay. The top of the box has a sculpted form with four scalloped corners. Between each scallop is a curved edge. There is a wide band of gilt and Abalone (1/2") connecting the scallops, which are entirely covered in a gilt/Abalone design. The top is ornamented in a like manner with delicate gilt painted lines and circles which border the seashell pieces. Each side has a wide, hand painted gilt medallion. The bottom gallery is curvaceous and is entirely covered by gilt dots and Abalone shells.

The interior is of a claret colored moire silk with decorative braid. There is a brass lock and key, which are in good working order. The dimensions are: 6 1/2" square and 2 3/8" tall. The box is in very good, structurally sound condition. There is slight wear to the lacquer on the center top and slight chipping to the Abalone at the corners (as is typical of a box of this age). However, the majority of the Abalone remains intact and the box is in remarkable condition considering the age and delicate shape.

While a lot of black lacquer boxes feature inlaid Mother of Pearl, this box is unusual because it is entirely ornamented by the colorful Abalone shell. The reflecting colors change with the light and give the little box the appearance of being ornamented by jewels.

Item ID: MT259

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Paris Chateau

Paris Chateau, Linville, NC   

Member since 2009

Fine 18th and 19th century French smalls: Layaways Welcome

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