Chased Silver Cobra Water Jug
height: 29cm, weight: 795g
This striking water jug is chased all over with typically Kutch silverwork with its tightly scrolled floral motifs interspersed with birds. It sits on a domed foot, has an elongated globular body and a long neck which leads to a wide, eliptical lipped mouth. A solid cast and chased cobra winds its way up the body and over the mouth providing a whimsical if surprisingly robust handle. Its head points downward into the jug as if the cobra has climbed up the side to investigate the contents.
The styling and manner of this vessel is reminiscent of the work of the form founded by Oomersi Mawji, the best known of Kutch’s master silversmiths, although it is unmarked. It does however carry two sets of Egyptian import marks. Most Kutch silverwork was destined for export markets in the UK and to a lesser degree the US. Perhaps this jug provides another interesting footnote to the story of nineteenth century Indian silver exports.
A very similar jug, attributed to Oomersi Mawji, is in the Guimet Museum in Paris and is illustrated in Okada (2000, p. 151.)
The condition of thus piece is excellent.
Okada, A., L’Inde des Princes: La Donation Jean et Krishna Riboud, Tresors du Musee Guimet, 2000.
Dehejia, V., Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj, Mapin, 2008.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 1218