This highly decorated,carved chest was bought by my parents for £4 in Zanzibar when they were on their way to be missionaries in 1936, soon after they were married. Arab chests were used as domestic furniture by Arabs for hundreds of years, and were brought to the East African coast in the early C19. They became popular with expatriates in East Africa by the mid C20. This one is probably only of souvenier quality. It depicts oriental - looking rather than Arab or African figures. It was used to store our photo albums and in the absence of TV or radio (or any electricity for that matter!) we loved to look at the family photos that were kept in the chest.