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Indonesian Furniture: Dowry Boxes

Dowry boxes were used in Asia - principally Indonesia and India - in the past by unmarried young women to hold clothes, household linen and personal effects in anticipation of married life. They were also used by the intending bridegroom to hold his wedding dowry to his future wife.

Original Javanese dowry boxes - handcrafted and hand carved - were revered and handed down from generation to generation.

Successful craftsmen used these boxes to store the tools and implements of their trade. These boxes were often made especially long to act as a bed platform to deter thieves and ensure that tools were not unguarded.

Original antique boxes are now rare and difficult to find in pristine condition but antique reproduction pieces are readily available.

Originals are now popular as accent furniture in bars and restaurants but are often un-sympathetically restored and finished.

Dowry chestCraftsman's chestDowry chest

Update:

We just had an enquiry from Canada from a lady who found the piece below in the garbage and wanted to know what is was!

Dowry box found in garbage

other posts:

Living Room Essentials Dining Room Considerations Bedroom Design Living Room Accessories Dowry Boxes Moisture content in Teak Furniture Facts about Furniture from Indonesia Indonesian furniture styles