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Indian & South Asian Furniture

Examples of exquisite furniture abound in India and South Asia, reflecting a rich legacy of woodworking that is valued throughout the region. From elaborately carved facades of temples to residential cabinets, tables, and screens, a high level of adornment and craftsmanship is evident in this region’s furniture. Indian furniture pieces are often embellished with traditional motifs using colorful opaque pigments to produce a stunning effect.

Wood varietals are of particular interest in Indian and South Asian furniture. Rosewood, native to the Himalayan foothills, has long been one of the most desirable timbers in Indian and South Asian furniture. Its innate beauty, durability, and availability in the region have made it highly prized and popular among woodworking artisans for centuries.

In addition to rosewood, the majority of new furniture in India is constructed from the timber of acacia and mango trees. The wood of Indian and South Asian furniture is typically so fine and stable in harsh environments that recovered antique woods are often reconstituted to fashion new pieces.

Quick Facts

  • The zenith of craftsmanship and aesthetic achievement in Indian furniture is often considered to be during the Vijayanagar Empire in Southern India (circa 1336 A.D.)
  • The Portuguese, who founded their own state within the borders of India, preferred European styles of furniture. They commissioned local artisans to recreate European furniture from imported models
  • Due to increasing economic development and a rising middle class, India’s furniture industry has grown exponentially in recent years

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