Enquiry about object: 8691

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    Unusual Indian Brass Mughal-style Tilaka Powder or Spice Box Set

    18th-19th century

    height: 19cm, width: 28cm, weight: 2,555g



    Formerly in the collection of the late Henry Brownrigg, London, UK.

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This splendid set of boxes comprises one large box surrounded by seven small boxes, all on a raised tripod stand. Each box is in the form of a Mughal-style iris flowerhead. Each has a hinged lid which flips open.

    The interior of each box has been painted red.

    Each of the three feet of the stand has been cast as a parrot.

    The set would have been used either to hold spices, perhaps to be consumed after dinner, or perhaps to hold tilaka powder used by Hindus to mark the forehead (and sometimes other parts of the body) as part of their puja (prayer) rituals.

    Overall, this highly unusual box is complete and sculptural. The brass has a dark, aged patina (there are small areas of brass with a brighter colour where the maker has added a patch.)  We have not seen another set of boxes like this example.


    Zebrowski, M., Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India, Alexandria Press, 1997.

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