Parcel Gilt Chased Silver Tea Pot
length: 22cm, weight: 488g
This superb silver and silver-gilt teapot is chased and engraved all over with scrolling foliage motifs, elaborate lotus petal borders and various other flower patterns. Both sides of the globular body are decorated with central stylised cloud-shaped cartouches decorated with two Tibetan narrative scenes.
One shows a partridge atop a hare atop a monkey atop an elephant, all with parcel gilding against a dense foliage background. This motif is known as the ‘four friends’ and has its origins in the
Tittira Jataka legend of one of the Buddha’s previous lives. It is a moral tale that teaches that age must be respected above learning, greatness or noble birth. Each of the animals represents the four terrestrial habitats: the sky (the partridge), the tree (the monkey), the ground (the elephant) and the underground (the hare.)
The other narrative scene shows Shou-lao or his Tibetan equivalent feeding a peach (or a medicinal ball of longevity) to a deer at his feet. A bowl of peaches sits on a stand in the middle of the scene. There is a crane and abundant foliage. The main elements of the scene are in parcel gilt. It is a narrative that relates to longevity.
The lid is generously chased with parcel-gilt flower motifs and surmounted by a prominent flower bud finial. The elegant handle has been cast as a dragon with a long-scaly back. The spout is in the form of a long-snouted makara. A tear-shaped turquoise cabochon has been applied to the top of the spout within a silver-gilt mount.
The foot flares and has been finely chased with a beautiful lotus petal design.
Overall, this is an exceptionally fine example of eighteenth century Tibetan silver work. The proportions are elegant and the condition is excellent.
Beer, R., The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs, Serindia, 2004.
Inventory no.: 866