Damascus, coffre indien, circa 1880

This "damchiya" is a traditional Indian chest which has deep meaning in weddings and Indian culture. These richly decorated and often carved chests were used to hold brides' dowries; that is, valuable items such as jewelry, clothing, and sometimes even money.

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Damchiya are more than just chests. They symbolize the wealth, generosity and social status of the bride's family. Dowry traditionally plays an important role in Indian marriages, although its importance has evolved over time due to social and legal changes.

These chests are meticulously designed, adorned with intricate designs, detailed engravings and carvings. They often reflect the artistic style of the region from which they come. Damchiya are passed down from generation to generation, strengthening family ties and perpetuating traditions.

Damchiya have been made and used for much of Indian history, dating back several centuries. However, their peak of popularity was generally between the 18th and 20th centuries. During this period, these ornately decorated chests were iconic elements of weddings and domestic life in India.

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