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A SOUTH INDIAN CARD TABLE  

Origin: India
Circa Date: 1850
Stock No: F2J0094
Location: London
Dimensions:
H: 30.3 in (77.0 cm)
W: 39.4 in (100.0 cm)
L/D: 20.5 in (52.0 cm)
Price Range:
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Inlaid throughout with delicate floral trails of tombac, the hinged folding top enclosing a green baize-lined surface with foliate spandrels. The table also features a waved apron, and stands on detachable cabriole legs with corresponding inlay and feet.

A rotating top opens to reveal a circular playing surface surrounded by foliate brass inlay with the frieze, cabriole legs and top all similarly decorated. The table has an exceptional feature of being able to unscrew the legs which can then be packed away in a compartment below the top. Even with the legs removed, the table can nonetheless be used as the joint is approximately 4 inches down the leg; thus seated Indian floor players could still be accommodated.

This attractive card table has two known similar equivalents, one which passed through Mallett in the early nineties, and the other through Christie’s London sale room on the 6th July 1995. The latter bore an inscription ‘C.P.Xavier, Allepey’, probably relating to a Christian born cabinet-maker from Allepey, today Alappuzha in Kerala, and to whom we can attribute the other two examples.

The unusual shape and decoration of these tables results from an overlap of influences between the European typology of the card table and the Indian use of tombac inlay. The strong curve of the cabriole legs is evocative of Portuguese examples from the 18th century, however, the rarity lies in this table having the curved feet on platforms of Indian manufacture.

Tombac, also known as Dutch brass, is of Javanese origin and is an alloy of copper and zinc.

Attributed to C.P Xavier.

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