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2002/148/1 Linen chest, wood, hand-painted by Mr S Hakim, Bangladesh, 1985. Click to enlarge.

Linen chest, Bangladesh

The primary significance of this painted linen chest from Bangladesh lies in its close design and provenance relationship to a spectacular embroidered bed cover, or nakshi kantha, also from Bangladesh and recently acquired. The nakshi kantha was designed by Suriyah Rahman in Dakha in 1983. The painting of this box, and its pair, was expressly commissioned by the donor to match the nakshi kantha. While both quilt and box are of recent manufacture, they utilise traditional methods of manufacture and traditional design elements.

A Dakha rickshaw painter, Mr S. Hakim, was employed to paint the chest. Mr Hakim has faithfully reproduced the design elements present in the quilt, ie the central elephant, surrounding flowers and boteh border, and has also endowed them with a more Mogul character and a notable vitality.


Object No.


Object Statement

Linen chest, wood, hand-painted by Mr S Hakim, Bangladesh, 1985

Physical Description

This wooden linen chest was hand-painted to match a nakshi kantha (a Bangladeshi quilt) which is also in the Museums collection (2002/146/1). It is decorated in brilliant colours on the top and all four sides. On the top is a black elephant with yellow red and blue trappings surrounded by flowers, leaves, fish and some articles of everyday usage. The border is a red line with a blue 'ribbon' pattern outside it. Each end of the box is decorated with a stylised lotus flower in the centre surrounded by more flowers, leaves and insects. On the front of the box is a whole row of stylised lotus flowers surrounded by swirling fronds of vegetation. There is a row of yellow boteh (in Bangladesh, kalka) around the top.



460 mm


917 mm


510 mm



The motifs and colours used to paint the linen chest were all taken from an embroidered nakshi kantha (also acquired by the Museum 2002/146/1). Although this nakshi kantha was made in the early 1980s, the figurative designs used are all traditional kantha motifs - every-day items with which the embroiderer would be familiar. These include a large central elephant, birds, flowers such as the lotus and the sunflower, trees and other animals. Also to be found on this kantha are a bed, a snake, a comb, a baby's cradle, fish, butterflies, a loti or water pot, a fan, parrots, and caterpillars - all of which are traditional motifs.

Hand made wooden box, hand painted.



Made and used as a linen/storage chest.
Owned by the donor Ms Sue Tuckwell and her husband. The chest and its pair, which is still in Ms Tuckwell's possession, were commissioned by the Tuckwells while living in Dhaka in Bangladesh in 1985.


Credit Line

Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Susan Tuckwell, 2002

Acquisition Date

19 December 2002

Cite this Object


Linen chest, Bangladesh 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 November 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Linen chest, Bangladesh |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 November 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}