Michael Backman Ltd - Home

Elaborate Repoussed & Chased Colonial Silver Chutney Dish
Burma (Shan) & India (Hamilton & Co)
circa 1850

height: 21.8cm, weight: 881g

This very unusual and finely rendered item is of repoussed and chased solid silver.  It comprises a stand that sits on three high, zoomorphic feet; a tiered,
domed cover; and a removable silver dish inside that has a brightly gilded (gold-plated) interior. The gilded interior suggests that the receptacle was meant to
hold food, and indeed, it is likely that the item was designed during colonial times as an elaborate chutney or relish holder.

The cover and base are the product of Shan silversmiths working in Burma. The cover is repoussed with eight panels showing a mixture of the Burmese motifs
for the zodiac and the eight planets. It is likely that the cover and base were made in Burma and then shipped to India (large quantities of Burmese silver and
lacquer were shipped to India for that market during colonial times).

The item seems to have been acquired in India by the Calcutta-based silversmiths Hamilton & Co, which added in the internal tray which is stamped to the
base with the firm's marks and pseudo date marks - marks which were used by the firm from 1821 to 1860.

The item is architectural, sculptural and probably unique. It is in excellent condition.

Fraser-Lu, S.,
Burmese Crafts: Past and Present, Oxford University Press, 1994.
Wilkinson, W.R.T,
Indian Colonial Silver: European Silversmiths in India (1790-1860) and their Marks, Argent Press, 1973.

Provenance: UK art market

Inventory no.: 4640 SOLD

Click here to see more items from Burma, and here to see more colonial Indian silver.
The maker's marks on the bottom of the internal dish.