Intricate jaali work (lattice work) is the most significant feature of the Mughal monuments of India. Most of the Mughal monuments are extensively decorated with jaali work illustrating the geometric and floral patterns. Such designs and patterns inspire the artisans to replicate such workmanship in different mediums and ivory carving was one such material. Aesthetically carved variety of ivory artefacts like boxes, screens, combs, panels often shows exquisite jaali work very skillfully done in a naturalistic way.

This minutely carved ivory jewellery box is an excellent example of lattice workmanship done by the Delhi ivory carvers in the beginning of 20th century. Fitted with several delicate small panels, worked in ogee pattern and each ogee design show symmetrically arranged pair of birds. The box rests on four legs each carved in the shape of elephant’s face and lace effect can also be seen in the lower portion. The most significant aspect of this box is that the knob, hinges and even the nails have been made of ivory.


  • Title: Jewellery box
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 1900/2000
  • Location: Delhi
  • Physical Dimensions: Ivory; carved, Lt. 55; Wd. 38; Ht. 26 cm
  • Accession Number: 90.347

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