Tanjore Encrusted Ware – Indian Inlay

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Tanjore-ware originates and gets its name from the South Indian city of Tanjore. Hindu gods and mythical beings are depicted in traditional swami style of south India. This style originates in the local carvings of the temples of that region and can be compared with 19th century swami silver.

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Bidri Hooka Bowl

Bidri – Indian Inlay

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Bidri is a technique of inlaying zinc vessels with brass, silver or gold. This form of decoration is uniquely Indian and began in the city of Bidar in the Deccan. The oldest known examples date from the late 17th century, but according to oral legend, production of bidri began in the 16th century.

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Koftagri Indian Inlay

Koftgari – Indian Inlay

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Koftgari is the Indian form of damascening which closely resembles the damascening found in Persia and Syria.
The inlay process begins after the piece is moulded and fully formed. The intended design is engraved on the base metal. Fine gold or silver wire is then hammered into the grooves.

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Harry Tilly Descriptions of Plates

Silverwork of Burma – More Descriptions of Plates

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Another great artist was Maung Myat San and a small bowl by him is contrasted on Plate VII with the work of a present day prizeman. The photograph does not do justice to the modern bowl because much of the detail is lost in glitter but after making all allowances, it cannot compare with work of the old master, which for clearness and charm of design, accuracy of workmanship and restraint, has not yet been beaten. This bowl was probably made about the year 1860.

webstudio-adminSilverwork of Burma – More Descriptions of Plates

Silverwork of Burma – Description of the Plates

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The first four plates are photographs of old bowls collected at the time of the Indian and Colonial Exhibition, and were originally taken for the instruction of modern silversmiths. The most ancient are Nos. 1 and 2 in Plate II which, from the style of work, are judged to date from the eighteenth century and are in low relief but have been carried to a degree of finish required firing twice.

Joseph CohenSilverwork of Burma – Description of the Plates

Silverwork of Burma – Status and Characteristics of Silversmiths

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The occupation of silversmith is not hereditary in Burma, though it often happens that amongst the members of a particular family one or two are found in each generation to have an especial aptitude for the work. Like other men, some work steadily and some fitfully, but a good craftsman is honoured by his fellow townsmen and his success is felt to reflect credit on the town.

Joseph CohenSilverwork of Burma – Status and Characteristics of Silversmiths

Silverwork of Burma – Neillo Work

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Many of the silversmiths of Burma are proficient in this art, though few are fond of it, because it entails working over a hot furnace and in sulphurous fumes. The design appears as if drawn in silver outline on a black ground. The articles made are cups, lime boxes, plates and knife handles, and are all quite smooth with a good polish.

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Silverwork of Burma – Tools and Plants

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Amongst the tools and plant of a worker in silver is an open charcoal hearth fanned by English or Burmese bellows. The latter deserves a word or two of description, as they are used in many trades. They are of all sizes, from the tiny model of goldsmith, which may be worked with the little finger, to the huge apparatus of the brass-founder, required a man to each rod.

Joseph CohenSilverwork of Burma – Tools and Plants

Silverwork of Burma – Method of Working

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The method of the Burmese silversmith can best be explained by describing the making of a bowl. The silver is melted in a flat clay saucer over a flaming fire and when purified is allowed to cool in the saucer, which serves as the mould to produce a plate, flat on one side and convex on the other, about ½ inch to ¾ inch thick. The silver plate is then gradually beaten out on a round iron anvil with an iron hammer until it is of the full diameter of the bowl to be produced.

Joseph CohenSilverwork of Burma – Method of Working

Silverwork of Burma – Silver Content

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Under the Burmese Government the buying and selling of silver might only be conducted under the supervision of a licensed broker, and each piece was named and marked in accordance with a regular scale: for example, rupee silver was said to correspond to (Burmese writing excluded) or a mixture of –

Joseph CohenSilverwork of Burma – Silver Content

The Silverwork of Burma by Harry Tilly

Joseph Cohen Harry Tilly, Silver silverwork 457 Views

There are perhaps few countries in the world in which the use of gold and silver is prohibited in ceremonial worship and fewer still in which there is no religious services conducted by priests. Yet such is the case in Burma where the monks who follow the strict precepts of their Lord Gaudama are forbidden to touch gold or silver, and beyond expounding the law of their great teacher, do not preside over any religious exercises nor do they assist at a marriage or perform any last offices over the remains of the being who has quitted this scene of trial.

Joseph CohenThe Silverwork of Burma by Harry Tilly
Indian Silver Publictions

Islamic, Indian and Asian Silver Booklist

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eel free to add books and make corrections to this list. Please keep the scope of this list to Islamic and Asian silver, art and architecture. (This is a working list and a resource, it hasn’t been checked for accuracy)

Joseph CohenIslamic, Indian and Asian Silver Booklist

Burmese Silver – Decorations and Depictions

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Below is a description of a typical Burmese bowl. From this description one can understand how ornamentation was applied to other forms.
A bowl can be divided into three horizontal sections: the top, the middle and the bottom. The middle section contains the main pictorial scene and is the focal point of the bowl; It takes up most of the space on the bowl.

Joseph CohenBurmese Silver – Decorations and Depictions
Patterns on Borders

Recognising Kutch Silver

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Kutch silver is a style of Indian Silver made in the Kutch Region in west India. Its most recognizable feature is its scrolling foliate patterns. These crisp, tight patterns weave around the surface of the piece. Interspersed between the foliate patterns are depictions of animals, birds and hunting scenes.

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Burmese Box

Burmese Silver – Forms

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There is little variety in the forms of silver vessels seen in antique Burmese silver. Typically, one sees bowls, containers, cups and statutes.
To make the statutes the silversmith first were cast silver to create the form and then chased the piece to add detail. When making the other items, the silversmith melted silver into a clay saucer and then hammered the silver into a specific form.

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Silver Kashkul or Begging Bowl

Recognising Kashmiri Silver

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Kashmiri Silver was one of the most popular styles of Indian Silver. The silver-work was influenced by the beautiful scenery which the Kashmiri region is well known for. The scenery was incorporated with floral motifs of coriander leaf, poppy plant and chinar leaf which were repeated around the entire surface.

webstudio-adminRecognising Kashmiri Silver
Embossed Lotus Flower Malay Silver

Silver From the Malay World

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‘Silver from the Malay World’ is a small display at the Victoria and Albert museum which shows a broad spectrum of 19th century Malaysian silver. In the showcase is a range of items from pillow ends, to daggers, to bowls. The display also shows the variety of techniques (chasing and embossing, niello work, and electroplating) and material (gold, glass, and wood) used in conjunction with silver.

Joseph CohenSilver From the Malay World
What is Indian Silver

What is Indian Silver

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Indian silver of the Raj or British rule was produced from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century. Several distinct styles were made, each varying in form, decoration, and technique. The styles are categorized by the region in which they were made. Although each style differs greatly there are some traits which all Indian silver shares.

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Animals on Silver Jigger

Silver and Animals

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From the seals of the Indus valley, south asian artists have included animals in their work. There are many instances in 19th century silver of animals incorporated into the decoration. From religious to informative to playful, animals are represented in varying poses and using varying techniques.

Joseph CohenSilver and Animals