Gilded Silver Filigree Rosewater Sprinkler for the Ottoman Market
height: 26.5cm, weight: 210g
This striking sprinkler comprises an inner silver-gilt body and stem and an outer covering of parcel-gilt filigree open-work scrolls bordered by pearled silver wire ribs. The base sits on a low ring foot. The finial of the long, thin stem is surmounted by a coral bead head perforated by a single hole through which the rosewater is emitted.
This sprinkler is a fine example of Gujarat filigree silver-work made for the Ottoman Turkish market. As such it is a fascinating example of eighteenth century cross-border influence and a reminder that trade of manufactured items during this period was not only between Asia and Europe but occurred extensively within Asia.
The filigree is finer and more precise than similar Turkish-made items. The style and work also bare some similarity to filigree work attributed to early eighteenth century Armenia.
The technique of silver filigree was promoted by Indo-Portuguese colonialism and trade in the sixteenth century. Local craftsmen learned European techniques and then developed silver filigree industries in their own right.
The sprinkler is part of a small group of filigree objects known to have been made in India for Ottoman Turkey. Several late eighteenth century
pandans and thali boxes in the collection of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum have similar scrolling filigree work (Terlinden, 1987, p. 137.) A related sprinkler was offered by Sotheby’s London in their ‘Arts of the Islamic World’ sale of October 7, 2009, as Lot 119. A box with related work was offered as Lot 144 by Sotheby’s London in their October 18, 2001 sale. A box with related filigree work but ascribed to seventeenth century Goa was offered as Lot 184 by Sotheby’s London in their ‘Arts of the Islamic World’ sale of October 8, 2008.
Mughal Silver Magnificence, Antalga, 1987.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 1266