Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, 1610-1615
Mughal School
Lacquered wood, mother-of-pearl, and silver
H x W x D: 30.9 x 40.8 x 24.8 cm (12 3/16 x 16 1/16 x 9 3/4 in)
India, Gujarat state
Credit Line
Purchase - Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Fund
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Container, Lacquer


flower, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), palm tree, writing

Unidentified owner, Belgium, method of acquisition unknown [1]

Ader Picard Tajan (Lucien Arcache), Paris, France, acquired from unidentified owner, Belgium [2]

Sale, Paris, Ader Picard Tajan, “Art Islamique,” March 9, 1987, lot 210 [3]

John Lawrence Fine Arts, Inc. (John Robert Alderman), London, England, purchased from the “Art Islamique” Sale in Paris, France [4]

From 1988
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from John Lawrence Fine Arts, Inc. [5]

[1] See letter from Lucien Arcache to Glenn Lowery, dated December 4, 1987, and written on “Lucien Arcache [/] Expert près les Douanes Françaises [/] 39 Rue Dumont d’Urville [/] 75116 Paris” letterhead, copy in object file.

In the letter, Lucien Arcache, an independent expert working for Ader Picard Tajan, tells Lowery, “Suite à nos récentes conversations téléphoniques, je vous remets ci-joint le Catalogue de la Vente d'Art Islamique et Orientalisme du Lundi 9 Mars 1987, dans laquelle le Coffret Gujerati a été vendu sous le Numéro 210. [//] Je vous confirme que ce coffret nous est parvenu de de Belgique ou il semble y avoir réside depuis longtemps, avant d’être propose pour sa vente á l’étude ADER PICARD TAJAN à Paris, en l’année 1986 ou il est resté quelques mois, avant que nous soyons convaincus de sa rareté.”

Ader Picard Tajan was an auction company in Paris, France and specialized in Islamic art. In the 1990s, Ader Picard Tajan split into three separate auction companies: Ader; Picard; and Tajan. Their independent expert, Lucien Arcache, specialized in Islamic and Asian art.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1. See also Ader Picard Tajan and Lucien Arcache, “Art Islamique: Vente à Paris, Nouveau Drouot, 9 Mars 1987” [auction catalogue], (Paris, France: March 9, 1987), lot 210 (illustrated).

[4] See letter from Mark Zebrowski to Dr. Glenn Lowry, Curator Near Eastern Art, dated May 21, 1987, copy in object file. In the letter, Zebrowski offers to sell the box to the museum. See also letter from John Robert Alderman to Dr. Glenn Lowry, June 8, 1987, original letter in object file. In the letter, Alderman says, “I acquired the object on the continent.” Alderman’s name varies in the letter between him and the museum, these variations include John R. Alderman, Robert Alderman, and Bob Alderman. American dealers and collectors, Mark Zebrowski (1945-1999) and John Robert Alderman opened John Lawrence Fine Arts, Inc., a London gallery specializing in the sale of Indian and Islamic art.

[5] See John Lawrence Fine Arts, Inc. invoice, dated October 30, 1987, copy in object file. On the invoice, John R. Alderman transfers title to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, but object is not accessioned until January 1988.

Research Completed October 26, 2022

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Ader Picard Tajan
John Lawrence Fine Arts

Published References
  • Celia Heil. Lacquer Across the Oceans: Independent Invention or Diffusion?. .
  • Robert Skelton. The Indian Heritage: Court Life and Arts Under Mughal Rule: Victoria & Albert Museum 21 April-22 August 1982. Exh. cat. London. cat. nos. 549-52.
  • J. C. Harle, Andrew Topsfield. Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum. Oxford. cat. 98, pl. 19.
  • The Arts of India, 1550-1900: The Nehru Gallery of Indian Art. London. cat. 37.
  • Facets of Indian Art: A Symposium Held at the Victoria and Albert on 26, 27, 28 April and May 1, 1982. London. .
  • Denise Patry Leidy. Mother-of-Pearl: A Tradition in Asian Lacquer. Exh. cat. New York. cat. 18, pp. 36, 61.
  • Stuart Cary Welch. India: Art and Culture, 1330-1900. Exh. cat. New York. cat. 82, pp. 139-140.
  • The Arts of India. Ithaca, New York. pp.178-180, figs. 194, 196.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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