Learn about Vizagapatam / Sadeli

Vizagapatam, now known as Visakhapatnam is an industrial city that stretches 3 km along the coast between Calcutta and Madras. In British colonial times the city was called Waltair, and part of the city is still known by its colonial British name.

In the mid 18th and 19th century the town became one of the centres in India for the manufacture of small wooden items, especially boxes, and furniture made of local hardwoods such as sandalwood, which has a strong fragrance and elaborately inlaid with ivory and other exotic materials including horn, ivory, porcupine quills and silver.

Another form of decoration used, was with Sadeli mosaics, an ancient craft that is said to have been introduced from Shiraz in Persia (now Iran) to India.

Ivory, silver, pewter, wood and horn were cut into faceted rods which were bound together to form geometric patterns. When the glue was set, the rods were sliced in transverse sections. This gave the maker a number of angled circular pieces in the original pattern. Several variations of patterns could be achieved by combining the materials in different ways. The ivory was sometimes dyed green to give an extra colour. more...
These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

An Anglo Indian sadeli mosaic work box (AF), late 19th century, with interior mirror and lift out tray with turned ivory ink, pots, ivory lidded compartments, cotton reel holders, etc.

A fine Vizagapatam games box, early 19th century of incised ivory and horn inlaid into sandalwood, the top of the box opening to form a chess board, opening to reveal an interior containing three inlaid sandalwood boxes with sliding lids for game accouterm

An Anglo Indian sandalwood and sadeli mosaic sewing box, mid 19th century, the hinged lid inset with a relief carved landscape panel, internally fitted and complete with original ivory and mosaic inlaid compartment lids and bobbins, 31.5 cm wide note: the

A fine Anglo-Indian sadeli ware mosaic & ivory games table. Beautifully fitted drawer interiors, early 19th century. Height 77 cm, width 61 cm

A Vizagapatam ivory and penwork box, late 19th early 20th, depicting buildings amongst trees with floral motif borders

A fine Sadelli writing box, Anglo-Indian mid 19th century. 16 cm high, 44 cm wide and 30 cm deep. Provenance: Private Collection, Melbourne

An Indian bone and Sadeli work inlaid rectangular wall mirror 86 x 62 cm

A fine late George III period Anglo-Indian Vizagapatam ivory and sandalwood dressing mirror, circa 1790 66 cm high, 45 cm wide

A fine ivory and sadeli rectangular work box, Anglo-Indian, mid 19th century 9 cm high, 34 cm wide, 24 cm deep

A Vizagapatam box, the octagonal form box profusely decorated with carved bone and ivory over tortoiseshell on eight paw feet, the lid opens to reveal a baize lined interior and a mirror to the lid. Diameter 21 cm. Height 8 cm

An Anglo Indian style Huntley & Palmers biscuit tin early 20th century, London, the pressed metal lidded tin mimics an Anglo Indian sandalwood and sadeli mosaic sewing box exterior, impressed mark to base, 25.5 cm wide. Illustrated in Cummins, Dr G., antiq

A Damascus intarsia chess/backgammon box 19th century, the rectangular fold over box with chess playing surface to the exterior and backgammon playing surface to the interior, the surface inlaid with fine mother of pearl and sadeli mosaic motifs, 48.5 cm w

An Anglo Indian sandalwood tea caddy mid 19th century, the rectangular dome topped caddy with relief carved figurative panels framed by sadeli mosaic borders, internally are twin lidded compartments, 24 cm wide. Illustrated in Cummins, Dr G., antique boxes

An Anglo Indian Vizagapatam ivory sewing basket 19th century, the low basket veneered in ivory with black lac decoration throughout, beneath a central high set swing handle flanked by twin sloping lids, each opening to individual storage compartments below

An Anglo-Indian ivory and sandalwood casket, Vizagapatam, circa 1900, 7 x 22 cm, inscribed 'Lighthouse, View of Vizag'

An Anglo-Indian ivory and lac-engraved sewing box, Vizagapatam, second quarter 19th century, the domed and fluted hinged top revealing a fitted engraved ivory and sandalwood interior with removable tray divided into compartments, the lid with a hinged pane

Vizagapatam ivory and tortoiseshell oblong trinket box with satinwood interior and ivory corner claw supports

A late 19th century Anglo Indian Vizagapatam sewing box, the sandalwood cover and sides carved with elephants in foliage within tinted ivory and metal mosaic bands, opening to reveal compartments and some fittings, the interior with ink inscription 'Passed

A 19th century Anglo Indian Vizagapatam rectangular sewing box, with domed canted cover with sunburst of ivory and horn panels, and porcupine quill body opening to reveal compartments and some fittings, a drawer below and on ivory feet. Width 33 cm. Depth

A 19th century Anglo-Indian Vizagapatam horn sarcophagus box, the cover with sunburst sections of horn and vertical sections to the body, 12 cm high 4.5' high) .

Anglo Indian miniature ivory, ebony and sadeli mosaic covered chest with two half and three full width drawers, ivory escutcheons, an extended plinth base, four bracket feet and the carcase faced in ivory veneer decorated with floral motifs

A sadeli work ivory writing case Anglo-Indian, circa 1900. 23 cm wide and an ivory mounted book cover, circa 1900