As we get closer to the Indian wedding season we took another look at some of our vintage dowry boxes.
Dowry was the giving of gifts from the family of the bride to the family of the groom. Traditionally it might take the form of jewellery and textiles, especially textiles made by the bride or members of her family.
This lovely box has a folding lid with long iron hinges and superb carving. Inside there are two sections, a large space and a small space for jewellery.
You can see all our dowry boxes in the Carvings Collection.
This box with a hinged lid and three small drawers would make a great jewellery box. It's covered with brass work: floral decals in two different styles and decorative straps around the edges and drawer fronts.
This is a different box with three drawers but another hinged section under the lid.
You can see all our dowry boxes, and other styles of box, in the Carvings Collection.
This next box is a favourite. It's larger and more like a chest for it stands on small turned legs. It has an unusual shape and superb carvings of a circular motif with complex patterns. The metal work is functional - it helps to hold the structure of the box - but it also has a charming decorative effect.
Of course the 1961 Indian Dowry Prohibition Act aimed to prevent the giving or receiving of a dowry; dowry being property, goods, or money given in connection with the marriage.
In spite of Government attempts to make changes, the giving of dowry is still widespread. The Guardian ran in interesting article about successful attempts to eradicate the practice of dowry.