Exotic Mother-of-Pearl powder flask, ewer and dish
Indo-Portuguese, Gujarat, c. 1600
Turban Snail (Turbo marmoratus) mother-of-pearl plates, wooden core
Published in: Laue, G.: Exotica, Munich 2012, cat. nos. 40-41
This group of precious artworks were made in the northwest Indian province of Gujarat from the shell of the marbled turban snail, Turbo marmoratus, which is endemic to the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. In the 16th century, artisans in Gujarat began to specialise in making articles of mother-of-pearl as luxury goods for the European export trade. Boxes, elegant ewers with basins, bowls, plates, candlesticks and powder-horns were produced - in short, showy objects for display that were European in form yet were highly prized in Europe as exotic for the glossy, nacreous material of which they were made and the unusual inlay technique employed to decorate them.