Game counter box

DATE:
19th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Ivory
CLASSIFICATION:
Containers
DIMENSIONS:
2 1/8 × 6 × 2 1/4 in. (5.4 × 15.24 × 5.72 cm) Box: 2 1/8 × 6 × 2 1/4 in. (5.4 × 15.24 × 5.72 cm) Lid: 1 1/4 × 5 3/4 × 2 in. (3.18 × 14.61 × 5.08 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of Asia
LOCATION:
303 ISLAMIC GALLERY
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alconda-Owsley Foundation
COPYRIGHT:
Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art
OBJECT NUMBER:
2001.356.A-B

General Description

Game pieces need a place for storage. This ivory game counter box is elegantly painted with men and animals, suggesting that it was probably ornamented in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. One side shows a procession of men, a horse, and an elephant. The other side shows a parade of men, a horse, and a camel. One of the shorts ends depicts a king over whose head is a regal umbrella.

Upper-class lifestyles, often modeled on the luxury arts of the Mughal court, were for several centuries quite similar among both the Hindu and Muslim elite. Some of the amusements enjoyed by the ruling class go back to pre-Mughal days, such as games, dicing, and hunting.

The high level of craftsmanship and the lavish ornamentation attest to the wealth, power, and taste of their owners. The use of ivory indicated not only prosperity but also access to elephant herds. The processional figures on the game counter box belong to the aristocratic world of Mughal times.

Adapted from

  • Anne Bromberg, "Ornamental Objects," in The Arts of India, South East Asia, and the Himalayas, Anne R. Bromberg (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 116.

  • Catherine Asher, "Game counter box," in The Arts of India, South East Asia, and the Himalayas, Anne R. Bromberg (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 122.

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