Unusual Etched Mughal Ewer
17th century or earlier
This northern Indian ewer has a plump flat-sided body that unusually flares towards the base giving it a slight pyramid shape. It stands on a circular, engraved foot. The ewer’s entire surface is etched with floral and foliage motifs within panels defined by geometric borders.
The S-shaped handle terminates in a ribbed lotus bud. The engraving retains traces of what might be enamel. The ewer has a soft, chocolate patina.
The spout itself is engraved with a zig-zag cobra scale pattern, as is part of the neck in part. This stylistic device is often encountered in Mughal and other Islamic architecture in northern India to decorate columns and even guttering. The base is engraved with fine lotus petals in the manner of the decoration sometimes found on southern Indian brass holy water pots (
Inventory no.: 341
Snake skin motifs in marble on the Taj Mahal, Agra, India.
Detail on a column at Fatehpur Sakti, the Mughal capial founded in 1571 and which predates Delhi.