Small Deccani-style Mughal Silver ThaliNorthern India
This thali, of shallow rounded form, is of high-grade silver, beaten, chased and engraved with a central lotus flower medallion and a further band of flowers and foliage. It is bordered by double fluted bands of scalloped lotus petal niches and with a lipped rim. Double rows of fluting is characteristic of the silversmithing work undertaken in Pune and the adjacent region.Thalis such as this were used at elaborate Mughal feasts. Each guest was served with his own thali, made of either silver or gold. Originally, precious metals were preferred as they were believed to detect poison. Later, they were preferred simply for reasons of ostentation. The size of this thali suggests that it was used to hold chutneys and relishes or to offer small savoury snacks.
A thali of similar form but larger is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum and illustrated in Terlinden, C., Mughal Silver Magnificence, Antalga, 1987, p. 104. Another is in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (inventory no. AC1999.248.1) and illustrated in Arts of Asia, July-August, 2002, p. 32.
Inventory no.: 105