Indian Dining Set, ca. 1890

Value (2004) | $35,000 Auction$40,000 Auction

GUEST:
It was shown at the Chicago World's Exposition in 1893. It took an entire village one complete year to get this ready for the exposition.

APPRAISER:
So it's more than just this table. What else is there that goes with it?

GUEST:
There's a console and there are six chairs. They're all part of the same set.

APPRAISER:
And this came from your family?

GUEST:
It came from my family. It had been passed down and passed down, and being that I'm about the last one, I have it.

APPRAISER:
I do believe it came from India. One of the things that's very interesting about it is the basic shape, because this is a Western European and English shape, this center-table form. And we know that the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 took place between May and October.

GUEST:
That's right.

APPRAISER:
A lot of people don't know it cost $27 million to put that on. It was very elaborate. It was a wonderful exhibition. The British had two major exhibition areas. One was for the British domestic manufacturers, the other was for the British colonies. There was one particular exhibition area, though, that was of the most interest, and it was called the East India Bazaar.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And I believe that's where this table and this set of furniture was exhibited, and that was in the main midway area as you walked right through the heart of the World's Columbian Exposition. Now, the question is, "Where in India did it come from?" because the British were all over India. One of those clues is this tracery design, which helps us date it to about 1890 and is very typical of Bombay furniture. But the biggest clue is, if we look at the base, you see that there are these large, lion like creatures and there's these large birds. Those are typical of forms that one finds on the western coast of India around Goa, and that's another clue that lets us know that this table is from that region around Bombay. And if you look at the top of the table... here, there is a Palladian house. It's a European-designed, colonnaded building, which leads one to think, wherever this came from, it would have been a location where the Europeans were at an early time, and that fits the bill for Bombay. The other thing that's interesting is the designs here of the various Hindu deities that are in these little sort of pavilions. That would indicate it's from southern India, because that's where the Hindu faith was strongest. All these things point to an origin that is on the western coast of India in the area around Bombay. This is made of an Asian rosewood. It's a very finely done piece of furniture. Wonderful craftsmanship. I would not expect that you could buy this in a retail market for less than about $35,000 or $40,000 for the entire set. In the condition that it's in.

GUEST:
In the condition...

APPRAISER:
It's actually in quite good condition.

GUEST:
Well, I don't know. I've been told that it was worth a lot more, but, uh...

APPRAISER:
Well, you know, in the right place, it might be, but... It might be. But I think a realistic figure would be right in that area.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lark Mason Associates
New York, New York
Appraised value (2004)
$35,000 Auction$40,000 Auction
Event
Omaha, NE (July 10, 2004)
Period
19th Century
Form
Table
Material
Rosewood

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