This extraordinary and unusually large example of a Mughal-style, northern Indian ewer most probably would have been intended for serve wine (araq) or opium water (kusumbho) to guests. It is likely that it belonged to a courtly or aristocratic Mughal (who were Muslim) or Rajput (who were mostly Hindu) household in north-western India.
It has 18th century stylistic elements but probably dates to the nineteenth century.
It is the largest example that we have seen, and is made entirely of hammered and chased, high-grade solid silver.
It comprises a large, bulbous body that is chased in high-relief with long, pendant acanthus leaves, and sprays of Mughal/Persian inspired flowers and shrubbery. It is sits on a low, flat foot. The neck rises from a wide, lotus petal border. The neck tapers outward and is gadrooned. The top of the neck has an acanthus leaf border and then narrows to an unusual, fine, chased foliate scrolling border. A domed lid sits in the neck. The lid is attached to the prominent, hollow, ‘S’-shaped handle by means of a heavy, silver chain. Another chain links to a stopper in the mouth of the reed-like spout which has been chased along most of its length with feathery foliate or petal motifs.
The ewer is free of damage or repairs. It has an extraordinary presence given its size and the quality of the silver-smithing. A related example, attributed to 19th century Western India, is illustrated in Jasol, K., et al (2018, p. 229).
Jasol, K., et al, Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2018.
Terlinden, C., Mughal Silver Magnificence, Antalga, 1987.