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King Wajid Ali Shah Bombay Blackwood Chair with Ivory from the 1858 British Auction at the King’s Walled City of Kaiserbagh

The chair was purchased from a Lady whose Russian Aristocratic parents escaped St. Petersberg during the Russian Revolution fleeing to the far eastern coast of Siberia. They spent their time traveling around Asia until 1941 when they emigrated to Montreal to escape the second World War. They escaped with their young daughter Lily and a few cherished possessions, one being this magnificent and ‘Heavy’ Chair chair The chair back rises to a height of 46 inches, by 21.5 inches wide, by 22 inches deep. The right rear leg has a slight age warp, other than that is in wonderful condition and is a treat to sit on, except of course for the carved crocodiles to the tops of the arm rests, which kept the King looking regal.

​What can one say about a King of what once was the richest province of 19th century India who enjoyed riding around his walled city on saddled giraffe,

I spent quite a lot of time researching this chair, as there are many chairs carved in India. So what makes this chair different. We’ll start with the top and work our way down. At the top back of the chair is the stylized ‘Coat of Arms’ of Wajid’s family, with one rule in their society being the King’s of this regal family were permitted the privilege of making basic changes to their coat of arms. This king ruled over a very rich province in Northern India, and built a walled city for himself, his 350 or so wives, and a virtual Zoo. The zoo contained many exotic animals including rhinoceros, lions, tigers, etc…etc…. To the back of the chair is a goddess holding a snake in each hand….this is the Goddess of Fertility and of course it goes without saying with over 350 wives who had their own living quarters with a bazaar to allow them the luxury of shopping. Next is the accessory that sets this chair apart from the multitude of other carved chairs out of India, that being from the tops of both arms of the chair are carved crocodiles, with cobras in their mouths, the mythical guardians of the “Throne Room”. For good measure to the front of the arms are fierce lions. To the front legs of the chair are carved elephant heads complete with ivory tusks. Bombay black wood is the Indian equivalent of Zitan, so it is quite heavy, and if caught in a flood would probably not be a good idea to latch onto this chair expecting to float, because like ebony, not exactly buoyant. The chair comes with a beautiful satin seat pillow with tassels. $CAN 9000.00 dollars.

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