Shapely Legs

The other day Ramana wrote about his favourite chair.  In the post not alone did we see photos of it, we also saw a picture of the younger man and his beautiful late wife Urmeela.  We learned a little more about their life together as well as the history of the piece of furniture.

In true Ramana fashion, he threw down the gauntlet and asked if we had a favourite piece of furniture to show & share….

My special treasure has shapely legs…

It was purchased as a gift before I was even a gleam in my father’s eye.  It was a gift for a woman.  A woman I never had the opportunity to meet.  The fact that she loved and cared for it was enough for me.  It may be my treasure at the moment, but I am really a temporary guardian until the day when I pass it on to the next generation.

It arrived into its first home in several pieces and when put together there were no nails needed.  Wooden dowels were the means of locking the sections together.

It is an occasional table.  A very, very unusual occasional table.  The wood is dark but not ebony.  Each of the four legs is carved into the shape of an elephants head with added eyes and tusks in ivory.

Alas, one of my predecessors  was not over fond of the table and made it the home for an indoor plant that was housed in a heavy black metal three legged pot, the type used in Ireland for cooking on open fires many generations earlier.  The legs of the pot caused irreparable damage to the inlaid Ivory on the table top.

The weight was in the table top which was all one piece.  The legs were attached to the underside of the top and to four connecting cross bars with a central decoration like a little wooden dish. At the edge of this dish were four shapes that look like snake heads.

Is that a pineapple sitting in the end of the trunk?

A little detail of the ivory:

The table was purchased by Jack during his war time service in India, before he moved on to Burma.  He had it sent home to his beloved mother in the North East of England.  I am sure that when the parcel arrived it was rather a shock, firstly to receive such a gift but it would also be an indication for his parents as to what country he was in.  Back then letters home were not alone very slow, but censored and no mention of where the sender was stationed was allowed.  Unlike today, where those at war have mobile phone and email access with their families, back then families did not know where their loved ones were.

Jack told me a story once in the wee small hours of the morning, when the ghosts of torment and nightmares wander achingly through the dark, that his mother sat up in bed one night and shouted to his father “Something has happened Our john!”.  The story was confirmed at a later stage by his aunt who also added that on that night Clara’s (Jack’s mother) hair turned white.  It was months before they were told that he was injured and back in hospital in Lincolnshire, England many miles away from home.

56 thoughts on “Shapely Legs

  1. Nick

    That’s a remarkable bit of furniture, very beautiful. We don’t have anything as special as that. An interesting story about the night Jack was injured. I don’t have much time for psychics but I do believe in telepathy and ESP and I know that sort of premonition happens often.

    Reply
  2. Rhyleysgranny

    Oh I felt the creeps down my back at that story. My Mother in law has a similar table sent home by my father in law during the war . He also served in Burma. Coincidence yes? Wouldn’t it be strange if they knew each other? I think the table is lying neglected in her roof space. You have jogged my memory to ask her about it as I always loved it.

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  3. Kate

    That is beautiful, I have a friend who collects ‘elephant furniture’ !

    I do believe in esp – my mother and I made use of it often!!

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  4. Magpie11

    Lady Magpie’s Mother has a similar table…her father was a medic on Troop transports and went all over…The Atlantic North Africa and the Med and the Pacific… I wonder?

    The story about Jack’s Mother rang a bell… I was with my first Girlfriend one evening when she suddenly cried out and started to cry. “They hurt her!”… her Grandmother was in Hospital and had just had to be rushed to theatre for emergency surgery at that exact time. We were at the opposite end of Norfolk to her Grandmother.

    I’ll pop over to R. and perhaps take up his challenge myself.

    Reply
  5. Grannymar Post author

    @Nick – If I had to leave this house and only take one piece of furniture, that would be it. Mind you, I don’t think I would carry it very far as it is so heavy.

    @Rhyleysgranny – Glad to jog the memory. Jack did mention only one man from Belfast and he was called Paddy. Jack looked him up when he came here at first, but the friendship was not rekindled.

    @Kate – My esp can be scary at times, so I like to make contact with the person that I have been thinking about.

    @Magpie – I look forward to your story.

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  6. rummuser

    The minute I saw the photograph, I knew that it was Indian and at least fifty years old. The chances are that he would have bought it either at Calcutta or Bombay, and very likely the piece is from Kerala.

    I have two more antique pieces that I acquired from my mentor and great friend who was in what was then Rhodesia before he came down to India. One is a chest of drawers with a swinging Belgian mirror which is still as good as new and another, an occasional table. He gifted them to me along with two massive cushioned arm chairs when he left India. The chairs after serving us for over near thirty years after already having served him for thirty years, finally made room for our newer sofa set. The two remaining pieces will always be treasured and as you say, passed on to the next generation.

    Reply
  7. Grannymar Post author

    Ramana,

    I know that it was purchased in India but have no idea of where. Your two pieces sound very interesting…..

    Do I detect another post?

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  8. Betty

    What a beautiful, unusual table! I believe in ESP, too. I have it and so did my grandmother. It skipped my mother’s generation.

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  9. Grannymar Post author

    @Ramana – Are you match making for Paddy B now? 🙄

    @Betty – Thank you, I do love the table.

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  10. Conrad

    Love the table! But, it’s the last part of the story that really catches me, the way it was used to indicate a secret message of location.

    Today I’ve learned something, so now I can go party without guilt!

    Reply
  11. Baino

    What a conversation piece and what a story. I don’t have a ‘favourite’ chair, just the corner of a sofa. I do have an old desk that my grandad made and a beautiful Queen Anne chair with little cherubs carved into it .. must get it recovered . . it’s in that awful 70’s olive green!

    Reply
  12. Paddy Bloggit

    Most of my furniture is from Argos ….. home delivery. No special pieces here but perhaps the new spot may get a chunky piece or two!

    A rocking chair might be nice …… 🙂

    Reply
  13. rummuser

    Grannymar, if you could not do it for so long, what chance do I have? No, I am not into matchmaking for Paddy or anyone. I value my reputation too much to lose it by a wrong selection suggested!

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  14. Grannymar Post author

    @BHB – Quite probably!

    @Conrad – Enjoy the party.

    @Baino – I am sure there is a story in the dest… if not a secret drawer!

    @Paddy B – Now is the time to watch out and plan for the special pieces of furniture.

    @WWW – Thanks! 😀

    @Ramana – My days of matchmaking are over. 6 Matches are my record!

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  15. Ashok

    I immediately had a feeling of he furniture being Indian the moment I saw it and quite an interesting story too. It often comes accross to my imagination that I have already been to a place even thoughts is for the first time. In other instances it feels like I have already been in a conversation or a particular situation even thought it happen for a first time. Somethings cannot be explained.

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  16. Maynard

    Grannym, a beautiful piece of furniture. I collect elephants. You may wake up one day and find it gone, but if I were you, I would blame BHB!

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  17. bikehikebabe

    Yes, that could happen. I have an elephant collection of 12. (Buddhas too) Mine are carved ivory from Sumatra. where my parents lived for 3 years & I was born.– How did you know, Maynard?

    Reply
  18. Grannymar Post author

    @Ashok – Your ESP is well tuned!

    @Maynard – Welcome to the party. I hope you will return and join in the banter. My table is very heavy and not an easy one to steal. 😀 Do you keep the elephants facing into the room? I once heard that it was unlucky to have them looking towards the door.

    @BHB – You must have a large home to house 12 elephants! 😆 Do they have names?

    Reply
  19. Maria

    What fun. I have read all the comments and looked at the photos and find your table and its history fascinating. I once heard that elephant figurines with the trunks up brought good luck, but ones with their trunks down brought bad luck. This story was told to me years ago when i was still in college and the person who told it to me was a student from Turkey.

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  20. Grannymar Post author

    Maria,

    I never heard about the direction of the elephants trunks before, Perhaps Ramana or Ashok, both from India can let us know.

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  21. rummuser

    Maria, in one word – Rubbish!

    I am an Indian and worship a God called Ganesha who has a human body and the face of an elephant. His trunk is never raised. The position of the trunk has nothing to do with luck or otherwise. What will Turks know about elephants? Must have been trying to impress you.

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  22. Maria

    Rubbish! In the U.S. we would not be so polite, we would say “Bull Shit! Thank you so much for your comment. I shudder to think that I have passed this nonsense on to others in light and meaningless conversation, but I loved my Turkish friend and I will always remember her little story. . . which is not much different than our American myth of believing a rabbit’s foot will bring good luck. Obviously, not good luck in the eyes of the rabbit.

    I consider myself a spiritual person, but I am not terribly religious. I do like learning about other’s beliefs so I will respectfully look for information about Ganesha. Sharing ideas through blogging is a wonderful eye-opener and makes our worlds come together one person at a time.

    Reply
  23. Grannymar Post author

    @Ramana – Thank you for replying so promptly. Perhaps at a future date you might tell us in a blog post a little more about Ganesha.

    @Maria – in the time I have known Ramana he has always shown respect and courteousness for others. His blog is well worth a visit.

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  24. Maria

    I am sorry if I left the impression that I thought Raman was anything but respectful and courteous. That is not my style and I do apologize if my remarks came across that way. Meanwhile, I have taken the time to visit his wonderful site and enjoyed reading about three of his posts.

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  25. Grannymar Post author

    Maria,

    I apologise. The fault was mine, by wording my comment badly. I was actually agreeing that Ramana, like you, was always courteous and respectful on all the blogs he visits.

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  26. Maria

    GrannyMar,
    Sometimes the first thought is the best. I read your reply and thought, “I love you, GrannyMar!” Now don’t laugh at me for my silliness. It is such a beautiful morning and I feel so good.

    Reply
  27. rummuser

    Maria, ‘Rubbish’ was not about your comment. It was about the idea that a raised or lowered trunk of an elephant could have something to do with luck! I quite appreciate your take on my comment and compliment you on your response. Now, you have gone and given me a problem. I can not say no to Grannymar and I have to now post on Ganesha!

    Reply
  28. rummuser

    Maria, Please forgive me for not mentioning this earlier. Thanks for visiting my blog. Please feel free to comment. I enjoy reading other people’s views on my posts.

    Reply
  29. Maria

    Ramana,
    I have created a most delightful problem since I am sure that many of your readers will want to read about Ganesha. The song from Sound of Music – “”How do you solve a problem like Maria? is buzzing around in my head. So after the count of 1,2, 3, let us, you and Mar and me, harmonize the chorus. Thank you very much for your comments and for the invitation to continue to visit and comment on your blog.

    Reply
  30. Grannymar Post author

    Maria,

    I have spent 5 minutes gargling with vinegar 😉 and am now ready to sing!

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  31. rummuser

    Ganesha incidentally is a problem solver! You will discover all about him in my forthcoming post.

    Vinegar or no vinegar, I just croak.

    Reply
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  34. Nicola

    I can’t believe it – I have a table almost exactly the same as this! The inlaid ivory in the top is identical as are the “pineapple” bits. The elephants heads are a little bigger on mine tho. The story behind mine is that my grandad was in the merchant navy during the 40’s and 50’s and he bought it back from a trip to India. I then inherited it when my grandmother died and think it is so beautiful. Apparently my gran used to use brown boot polish to look after it!

    Reply
  35. Grannymar Post author

    Welcome Nicola!

    It seems from the comments above that these tables are quite common. I do love the table and treat it about once a year with Teak oil that I apply with a soft toothbrush. I usually do this outdoors in summertime.

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  36. Elizabeth

    My Aunt just gave me this tables’ twin!!

    I doubt it’s the same one seeing this was posted this month, but I can’t wait to get home to see the top. My table has been repaired in a few spots, a nail here and there. I also think someone tried to stain it or something because some of the elephants’ head are darker then other spots.

    The little old lady (in Palm Spring CA)who gave it to my Aunt thought it was over 100yrs. old.

    Reply
  37. Grannymar Post author

    Welcome Elizabeth to my blog. These elephant tables are popping up everywhere and seem to be the original flat pack furniture, long before IKEA! 😉 Enjoy!

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  38. alan

    does anyone have an idea of the value of this table, i have one just like it and always wondered if was worth.

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  39. Grannymar Post author

    Alan, I have never thought of my table in monetary terms. The story behind it is priceless to me.

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  40. alan

    i would not dream of selling my table, as it belonged to my dear old gran, just wondered if it was of value..

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  41. Jennifer

    I have the same exact type table, same camels and elephants – although mine is oval and a bit bigger. I think mine was part of a pair, my grandfather picked it up on his travels in the 40’s or 50’s, I know he was in India but not positive if that is where he got it. Unfortunately, mine has taken a beating over the years and a few of the tusks on the legs are missing, as is some of the ivory inlay, but I can probably get it fixed pretty easily.

    I wonder what it is worth – not that I would sell it. I agree that there are probably a few of them out there…but not that many, because I have never seen one, not in anyones home or in all of my many travels to flea markets or antique stores, so there can’t be that many. I love Ganesha too. One of my favorites.

    Reply
  42. Grannymar Post author

    Jennifer –

    AS I said in the comments above, I have no idea of the monetary worth of the table. The story of how it came to be in my life is more than enough for me.

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  43. Jeff

    I have also one of these tables brought back by my gandad around 50 years ago. Would be nice to know if anyone knows what its worth.

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  44. Elaine

    My 93 yr old mother has table just like it. My dad who was in India during WWII sent it home it separate parcels as it was heavy. Luckily it all arrived safely. The legs are the same as yours but the design on top is slightly different. When my parents ran a guest house one of the guests children was caught picking at one of the elephants eyes with a safety pin so we replaced the eye with a pearl from a broken necklace! We always wondered what it could be worth even though we would never sell.

    Reply
    1. Grannymar Post author

      I think one of the eyes on my table leg is missing but I prefer to leave it that way. I count as part of ageing,

      Reply

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