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Indian teak portal


Carved Indian teak portal for a Constantia resident

First up is an intricately carved triple archway made mostly of teak.


Originating from India, this work is at least 150 years old. The client sourced it from a Cape Town importer, to divide his dining room from his living room. The structure was very unstable due to age and the work of many hands, some much less skilled than others. There were even some nails holding it together, and the teak was interspersed in places with mahogany.

At first Stephan was intimidated by the age and the beauty of the carvings. But the client merely wanted the structure to be stabilised and strengthened, and a more uniform look to the whole, to be achieved. So he eventually persuaded Stephan that he had full confidence in his ability, and it turned out well.

The archway had also been added to, and another archway had been fastened to it back-to-back, so it was beautiful from both sides. The two sides more or less match in size and proportion, but they differ in the details, one side being more elaborate than the other.

Replacing missing bits

We were lucky to find a Zimbabwean sculptor working at the sculpture garden on the way to Cape Point, Maxwell Shiri, who identified the wood as red mahogany. He produced three copies to replace the missing ornamental cones which had broken off and vanished during the piece’s long history.

The client was so happy with the outcome, that he hired Maxwell to carve his mantelpiece as well. Contact Maxwell at (074)4218625 for hand-carved sculptures in wood.

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