Notes from the Field: My Latest Love (No Photo!)

At Napier Museum in Thiruvananthapuram is a dressing table. There is no information about the object except that it was probably made in Travancore in the nineteenth century. Beautifully carved from wood with many of the typical sculptural elements seen in Kerala palace and temple architecture, it is breathtaking! As always in Kerala, "NO PHOTOGRAPHY PERMITTED" board hangs above it in bold letters, so no pictures to show this marvelous piece... yet. (If you want to read my rant about photography restrictions in Kerala museum, head here.)

The tripartite facing board of the table holds three mirrors--one in the center bigger than the ones on either side, and symmetrically placed. Most curious was the figure in the roundel above the frieze sheltering the two smaller mirrors: a long-haired, long-bearded man with eyes closed and an afflicted expression on his face. The figure seemed very Jesus-like. This is the only anthropomorphic figure on the elaborately carved table. 

Hopefully more on this table soon!