Fall-Front Cabinet

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Fall-Front Cabinet

India, Gujurat or Pakistan, Sindh, 17th century, later restorations
Furnishings; Furniture
Wood inlaid with bone, gold paint, varnish; iron fittings
13 x 22 x 15 in. (33.02 x 55.88 x 38.1 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch Fund (M.73.47.1)
Not currently on public view

Curator Notes

Ornate cabinets inlaid with ivory and bone were a specialty product of the indigenous and expatriate furniture craftsmen working in several centers of production and commerce along the western coast of the Mughal Empire, in what is now the modern Indian state of Gujarat and the present-day Pakistani province of Sindh. Made in the 16th-19th centuries for both domestic and foreign markets, they typically feature a standard repertoire of flora, fauna, figural, and florid designs with minor compositional or thematic variations. Originally a European furniture form known as a fall-front cabinet, the front cover is hinged at the bottom and opens to reveal interior drawers for stationery and valuables. This cabinet is noteworthy for its inscribed poetic verses heralding its beauty. Written in Nastaliq script, the couplets are painted in gold along the drop-down door’s exterior outer border. An Iranian artist’s name, Mirza Ibrahim, and the date [A.H.] 966 (14 October 1558 to 7 October 1559) are carved in Naskh script on the inset bone roundels on the exterior top of the cabinet, but an examination by LACMA’s Conservation Dept. suggests they may be later insertions and that the present components of the cabinet are likely a pastiche drawn from at least two sources.


  • Pal, Pratapaditya.  Elephants and Ivories in South Asia.  Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1981.