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Finely Carved Eight-Sided Ebony Measure or Staff
Sri Lanka
19th century

length: 41cm, diameter: 2.8cm

The precise use of this item is unclear. It might have been used as a measure, or perhaps as a staff. An eighteenth century drawing of the King of Kandy,
seated and holding a staff of similar proportions, is illustrated in Zandvlieyt (2002, p. 256). The staff or sceptre is a symbol of his power. But then perhaps it
was used as a particularly elegant way to measure out bolts of cloth.

But it is clearly Sri Lankan, probably from Kandy or its environs. It is a beautifully produced item, of ebony, and carved on each of its eight sides with fine
scrolling flower and leaf patterns.

The patina of the item suggests a nineteenth century dating.

The item is in excellent condition with no significant losses, cracks or repairs.

References: Zandvlieyt, K. et al, The Dutch Encounter with Asia 1600-1950, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 2002.

Provenance: UK art market

Inventory no.: 1656

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