Enquiry about object: 1294

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Unusual Chased & Parcel Gilded Silver Water Flask (Surahi)

Lucknow, India
circa 1880

height: 26cm, weight: 292g



UK art market

The form of this tall solid silver water flask or surai or surahi from colonial Lucknow follows conventional examples until the lower base is reached when it departs from convention with a highly unusual flared and then flattened form – a form that seems to have no equivalent in published works.

This water flask or surahi is also taller than many extant examples. It is engraved over its entire surface with fine coriander plant and flower patterns.

The flask sits on a low ring foot. The original, long chain connects the lid, which has an architectural quality and is topped by a ribbed bud finial, to the narrow neck. The neck rises from a wide border of acanthus leaves with a leafy, serrated collar on the way up.

Originally, as with many items of Lucknow colonial silver, the flask was parcel gilded (ie highlights in the design were plated with gold). The original gilding now is mostly apparent on the underside of the base and about the lid and upper neck.

Overall, this is a delightfully fine piece in excellent condition. It is without dents, repairs or splits. The flask sits well and evenly, and the lid fits tightly.

The flowers & leaves of the coriander plant on which the motifs for this piece partly are derived.

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