Indo-Portuguese Ivory Apothecary’s Mortar

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Object Description

An Unusual Indo-Portuguese Ivory Apothecary’s Mortar
Old silky smooth honey coloured patina
Age cracks and small chips to bowl and foot
First Half 17th Century

Size: 11cm high, 10cm dia. – 4¼ ins high, 4 ins dia.

Object History

In a desire and aggressive drive to dominate the maritime trade in spices during the 16th and 17th centuries, the Portuguese created their ‘Estado da India’. Composed of fortresses, trading posts and strategic coastal cities, it stretched all the way from Mozambique to Macao. Their headquarters was established in Goa which remained in Portuguese hands until 1961. Although they never achieved a monopoly over the spice trade, they did dominate the field of luxury goods, instructing and employing local artists and craftsmen in the manufacture of objects and furniture from exotic materials, all of which would be profitably exported back to a Europe hungry for such treasures.

Object Details

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2 Old Brompton Road
London
SW7 3DQ

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