Mangalore: A shop for antiques

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The Hindu

Mangalore, 12 January 2011: How would you place an object inside a box if it can’t be opened? A box like that is available in a small shop located on Car Street, and is definitely worth a visit if you are thoughtful about giving gifts or simply choosy about your own personal effects. Apart from the numerous showpieces The Treasure House crams into is small space, the truly amazing articles are those which can actually be used every day if one is prepared to shell out more for objects that are available at a much lesser price in the market.


Two of these include two cigarette holders which can be operated mechanically to release a cigarette. One of the boxes is flat and holds cigarettes in a row. Depressing a portion of the box will release a cigarette. The other box cannot be opened. The box is about eight inches long and three inches tall. The top of the box, which is intricately carved with a floral design, has a long flat strip in the middle, which is separate from the rest of the panel.


The box is designed in such a way, that all you have to do to put a cigarette inside the box, lift the top panel and release it. The narrow strip in the middle of the panel will have your cigarette ready when released. To put cigarettes inside the box, place the cigarette on the narrow strip and lift the panel, and voila! The cigarette disappears inside the box.


Antique wooden articles at " Treasure House " at Car street in Mangalore


Another example of an aesthetically designed object for everyday use, is a wooden box about two inches high, with small golden metal dots spaced like those on a die. The box contains a set of five normal-sized wooden dice, which are also marked with gold dots. The simple yet elegant box of dice costs Rs. 70.


Shop owner Suraj Kiran Nayak said that the very few items in the shop are real antiques. Most of them are replicas modelled on real antiques. Two centres where such items are largely sourced from are Sahranpur and Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh. Sahranpur is known for its wooden articles, he said.


Intricately carved wooden combs, wooden bangle stands, a metal saunf box shaped like musical instruments and peacocks, wind chimes, chests of drawers, stools, jewellery boxes, wooden ladles and spoons, are just some of the things one can use on an everyday basis.


The shop boasts decorative articles from across the country and around the world, especially China, and Indonesia. Asked if there any trend could be pinpointed among the shops customers, Mr. Nayak said that it was impossible to predict what a customer might like. “That is why we keep such a variety of articles here,” he said. The shop has over 200 varieties of Ganesh idols alone, he said.


Brass and bronze statues of gods, shells, wall hangings, African masks, Indonesian figurines, vases, mantapas (to house idols in houses), old lamps, are just some of the articles available at the shop, the tip of the iceberg.



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