A late 17th/early 18th Century Indian gold "Goa stone" container
Provenance:- Carl Kempe Collection, Sweden. Often desceribed in catalogues as Bezoar stone holders, these Goa stones were an artificially produced exotic mixture of ground up "medicinal" ingredients including natural bezoar (a natural concretion found in the stomachs of wild goats), ambergris, sapphire, ruby, emerald, red coral, musk, pearl etc. These stones were made up by Portugese Jesuits in Goa and were believed to have powerful curative powers, the powder being shaved off the ball into a posset or punch. Although the flourishing trade in London ensured that, at their high point, their value in weight was comparable with gold, by 1712 medical authorities were beginning to discredit their medicinal powers and by mid 18th Century they were much less popular. See Phillips Fine Silver sale 19/11/1999 Lot 252 for a comparable silver example. Dr. Carl Kempe (1884-1967) owned one of the finest European collections of Chinese Art put together in the mid 20th Century which he housed in Ekolsund, a Swedish royal palace sold by an impecunious Crown to the Seton family and bought by Dr. Kempe in 1912, spending the next 11 years lovingly restoring the dilapidated building. The collection was principally of two categories, one of which was early Chinese gold and silver of the Tang and Song periods. This is a supplementary item to the core collection which is now exhibited at the Museum of Art and Far Eastern Antiquities in Ulricehamn.