The Jack Daulton Collection
Antique & Ethnographic Art

dowry box, 

Sri Lanka, 

18th-19th century


dowry box or basket

two-color rattan cane woven in a geometric pattern over a wooden bottom, with brass fittings  


Kandy, Sri Lanka

18th-19th century

acquired in Sri Lanka by Jack Daulton

one side missing the brass hook for the eye latch


Known in Sinhalese as vel-pettiya, these cane boxes, baskets, or caskets were used to store jewelry and other small valuables that were part of the dowry of a high-caste, aristocratic woman in central Sri Lanka (Kingdom of Kandy). 

There is a very similar example in the collection of the National Museum of Kandy, Sri Lanka.


Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Mediaeval Sinhalese Art (New York: Pantheon Books, 2nd ed. 1956; Broad Campden: Essex House Press, 1st ed. 1908), Plate XLIIIA (a similar example, also with brass fittings).

view of top of box showing brass handle and plate with mythical tiger or lion motif:
side view 1:
side view 2, showing, on right, brass eye latch missing hook:
detail showing brass fittings:
The Daulton Collection