Large Chased Silver Water Jug
height: 28.5cm, width: 25.5cm, weight: 1,638g
This rather extraordinary and monumental solid silver water jug with tapering sides is profusely decorated all over with typically Cutch chasing work. The sides feature an elephant in combat with a lion; a pair of monkeys; a lion attacking a fallen gazelle; a camel and rider being attacked by a hunting dog; a man in Indian costume swinging an axe at a lion that stands over a gazelle; two hunting dogs attacking a gazelle; and leopard attacking a man whilst another man swings an axe at the leopard – all amid tightly scrolled vegetal and floral work and against a finely tooled background.
The top and bottom of the body of the jug are decorated with repeated acanthus leaf borders, and a prominent pearled edge.
The spout comprises a snarling
makara-type head emerging from scrolling foliage. The handle is in the form of a long, arched lizard or crocodile whose snout extends beyond the top of the lid. The lid, which is hinged and chased with vegetal and floral scrolls is topped by the most extraordinary beetle, cast in silver.
Overall, this must be one of the most extraordinary water jugs to have been produced in colonial India – it manages to be both beautiful and outrageous at the same time! There is no maker’s mark but clearly it is the product of a prominent maker. Its significant size, heavy weight and striking decoration mark this piece out as an important piece worthy of any good collection of major pieces of colonial Indian silver.
UK art market
Dehejia, V., Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj, Mapin, 2008.
Inventory no.: 1544