Inventory no.: 1124

Colonial Indian Silver Bowl – Lucknow


Repoussed Silver Bowl in Egyptian Style

Lucknow, India

circa 1920

diameter: 22cm, height: 14.6cm, weight: 827g

This highly unusual Indian silver bowl from colonial Lucknow is repoussed in unusually high relief with ancient Egyptian gods, pharaohs, and other ancient Egyptian imagery, all against a finely tooled background. The top border comprises a repeated leaf band. The lower comprises a frieze of repeated shrub motifs. The base is engraved with an odd motif that most probably was the maker’s idea of an Egyptian scarab motif.

The bowl is in a squat, spherical shape – a form most associated with bowls produced in Lucknow.

The themes employed on the bowl are in keeping with the craze for things Egyptian in England and its colonies that accompanied Howard Carter’s sensational discovery of the tomb of the boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun and all the treasures that the tomb held in 1922.

Buildings, jewellery, clothing all were designed with Egyptian themes and Egyptian art became one of the cornerstones of Art Deco, which was named after the 1925 International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Paris.

Egyptian-style cinemas in London that were build amid the craze included the Carlton in Essex Road, Islington, built in 1930 by George Coles; and the Astoria, in Streatham, designed by Edward Albert Stone, which opened the same year. Another building in the Egyptian manner was the Hoover factory on Western Avenue, West London. The Chrysler Building in New York, designed by William Van Alen, was another to incorporate Egyptian themes and motifs.

This bowl is free of any dents, splits or repairs and is a highly decorative and a highly unusual reminder of the craze for things Egyptian even in colonial Lucknow.

Inventory no.: 1124


Detail: Crucifix stamped to the side of the bowl.