This superb vase based on a holy water vase or lota stands on a wide ring foot; with a wide, flattened, globular body, a baluster-form neck and a wide mouth. Its body is decorated with elegant gadroons which alternate between being plain but ridged, and chased with floral and leafy scrolls. Elsewhere, the vase is chased in high relief with similar scrollwork.
Silverwork in this style was being made in Lucknow towards the end of the 19th century by which time local silversmiths were drawing on styles and motifs from all over India (Watt, 1903, p. 36). The form appears based on an early lota or a 17th century Mughal hookah base, perhaps of a type similar to that illustrated in Zebrowski (1997, p. 234). Watt (1903) illustrates a related vessel from Lucknow on plate 8.
The example here has its contours softened from age and some wear. It is in fine condition with slight age-related mis-shapening to the rim of the mouth which adds to the vessel’s charm. It has been constructed in two halves – the top and the bottom half which have then been carefully soldered together. Overall, it is a very beautiful and sculptural work dating to the late 19th century but drawing on motifs that originated centuries earlier.
Watt, G., Indian Art at Delhi 1903, Being the Official Catalogue of the Delhi Exhibition, 1902-1903, Superintendent of Government Printing, India, 1903.
Zebrowski, M., Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India, Alexandria Press, 1997.