A Late 19thC Ebony & Bone Inlaid Quillwork Box


Origin: English/English Colonial
Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1880
Height: 2 inches
Length: 5 inches
Depth: 3.5 inches

A pretty little rectangular box, the lid and sides inset with cut-down porcupine quill, within an ebony frame. The lid has two rows of quill, and slides off to reveal a plain hardwood interior. The box is further decorated with inlaid dots of animal bone, giving an attractive contrasting appearance. There are only two small areas of loss.

The use of porcupine quill to decorate boxes for export was common in India in the nineteenth-century, and was also a craft expertly employed by Native Americans centuries before.