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Inscribed Cast Brass Spittoon
North India or the Deccan
17th century

height: 10.4cm, diameter: 11.7cm, weight: 449g

This elegant, well proportioned brass spittoon is from seventeenth century Deccan or northern India and clearly is based ion Chinese porcelain prototypes
that date to as early as the tenth century (see Zebrowski (1997, p. 181) for an illustration of a Chinese porcelain example in the British Museum.)

It sits on a low, flared ring foot; is of baluster form; and has a wide, concave mouth. The foot, shoulder and rim (both the interior and exterior) are engraved
with fine, concentric circles.

The bulbous body is engraved with several letters of
devanagari script.

Such spittoons were used in conjunction with chewing betel or
paan, the chewing of which produced much red-stained saliva which was best expelled from the
mouth. Often they can be seen in early Mughal paintings, beside seated princely rulers, along with other accouterments associating with the taking of

This example is of a particularly early shape. A similar  example currently is on display in London's Victoria & Albert Museum.

The example here is free of any splits, chips or repairs. The body has several slight dents, though these are not readily detectable and are commensurate
with the item's significant age and use.

Zebrowski, M.,
Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India, Alexandria Press, 1997.

Provenance: UK art market

Inventory no.: 2110

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A very similar spittoon in London's Victoria & Albert Museum, attributed to
17th century Deccan.