Sinhalese Souvenir

Ceylon Turned Ebonywood Bowl with Porcupine Quills and Inlaid Bone (LEO Design)

Victorian Brits of means loved to travel—especially to visit other parts of "The Empire." One such place was Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka), an island nation to the south of India. One of the traditional souvenirs from Southern Ceylon was crafts made of ebonywood and porcupine quills—boxes, frames, desk caddies and bowls, like the example shown above. They were mostly made between 1850 and 1900, and mostly for the tourist or export trade. Because porcupine quills fall-out of the animal naturally, no foul play was involved in the procurement of the material. And pieces of polished bone would be inset into the wood, giving additional punctuation to the handicraft. Sri Lanka gained its independence from England in 1948. It became a republic in 1972, at which point it changed its name from Ceylon to Sri Lanka.

The quill bowl, shown above, would be perfect on a desk (for clips or business cards), at bedside (for jewelry or collar stays) or near a door (as a receptacle for house keys). It would also punctuate beautifully a coffee table in either a traditional or Modernist interior. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.


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