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{"id":5515039965334,"title":"Antique Indian Silver Heart Shaped Dish, O.M Bhuj, Kutch (Gujerat), India - Circa 1900","handle":"antique-indian-silver-heart-shaped-dish-o-m-bhuj-kutch-gujerat-india-c-1890","description":"\u003cp\u003eThis charming antique Indian heart-shaped silver dish was made by Oomersi Mawji, widely considered India's greatest ever silversmith. His workshop was in Bhuj, a city in what is now called the Gujerat region of India but was formerly known as Kutch.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis is a very unusual and fascinating cross-cultural object which reflects the influence of Japanese art on the European aesthetic movement (1860-1900).  At first glance, someone would in all likelihood, assume that this dish was of European origin but it was made in India. If you were able to turn the dish over, you would see that it is clearly marked to the underside with the stamp of Oomersi Mawji:  ‘O.M’ in a rectangular cartouche and, in a separate rectangular cartouche underneath, the word ‘BHUJ’   The marks have been well struck and are clearly defined.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMawji worked predominantly in the Kutch style but also in the European, Madras swami and Calcutta rural village styles. This is a rare example of Mawji’s work in the European style which is testament to his versatility and total mastery of the medium and demonstrates his ability to produce convincing silver in a wide range of styles.  Other examples are known including a copy of a Centaur vase, one of the items excavated from the House of Silver in Pompeii and several of Mawji’s surviving design drawings also feature European cityscapes.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIn his book ‘Industrial Arts of India’, published in 1880, George Birdwood writes, ‘Lord Northbrook exhibited at Paris (the Paris International Exposition of 1878) some fine Kutch repousse work by Umersi Manji, a goldsmith of Katch, Bhuj’.  Despite the strange spelling, this is obviously a reference to Oomersi Mawji. It is known that Mawji exhibited at many exhibitions in India, Britain and elsewhere.  Several pieces of his work featuring Italian landmarks, such as this, or replicating Italian archaeological finds or classical statues are also known.  Although we have not yet found documentary evidence, it seems very likely that these objects may have formed part of the Indian exhibit at the Milan International Exposition of 1906. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFlowers adorn the rim and frame the central scene.  They have been portrayed in the Japanese style with characteristic asymmetry and elegant surface patterning. These flowers: irises, hydrangea, plum blossoms and wisteria, are some of Japan’s favourite and most iconic flowers. However, the centre of the dish illustrates a favourite Italian topographical scene or veduta, a view of Rome’s Ponte Sant’Angelo, a bridge which spans the River Tiber.  In the background is St Peter’s Basilica and to the right is the Mausoleum of Hadrian.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis bridge was a favourite subject for artists including Flemish artist, Lieven Cruyl, working in Rome in the 17th Century and Piranesi and Antonio Joli in the 18th century.  By the late 19th century great advances in photography and printing processes allowed the production of affordable, mass produced books illustrated by photographs, such as Stoddard’s ‘Glimpses of the World’ which contained a photograph of the Ponte Sant’Angelo.  These books were sometimes sold by subscription and aimed at the burgeoning middle class.  They captured views of the world and brought them into people’s homes, allowing for virtual but realistic ‘travelling from an armchair’ for the first time.  It is likely that Mawji based his design on an illustration he found in this book or in a similar publication. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMawji’s interest in Italy may well have been ignited by the building of a new palace for the \u003cem\u003eMaharoa\u003c\/em\u003e of Kutch in Bhuj which started in the reign of Pragmal II.  The building was designed by architect and former British Indian army officer, General Henry St Clair Wilkins, who also supervised the construction.  Building works commenced in 1865 and the palace was completed in 1879 during the regency of Pragmal’s son, Khengarji III.  This palace became known as the Prag Mahal.  It was designed in an Italianate style variously described as Italian Gothic, Romanesque and Indo-Saracenic Revival.  \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAlongside scores of local builders and labourers, many Italian artisans were brought over from Italy to labour on the palace’s construction and ornamentation.  Their wages were paid in gold coins.  The building featured Italian marble, a clock tower, Corinthian columns, chandeliers, classical statues and jali work, depicting European plants and animals.  As Mawji would have been working in Bhuj during the long building project, it is very likely that he became deeply interested in the palace’s design and construction and likely met some of the Italian craftsmen involved in the project, perhaps even becoming friends with some, particularly after he was appointed Royal Silversmith to the Maharao which may have necessitated visiting the construction site.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eOomersi Mawji has become the best known and most celebrated Indian silversmith of his generation. His first workshop was in Bhuj, Kutch and with help from the Maharaja of Kutch, he became the premier Kutch silversmith.  Silver from the Kutch (Cutch) region of India was probably the most famous of the various Indian regional styles. The Maharajas of Kutch gave a great deal of help to the silversmiths living there. Championing their fine work, they commissioned silver for their own use and sent it out as gifts. They also encouraged and sponsored some of them, including Mawji, to attend various prominent national and international exhibitions, ensuring that the region’s silverware was always well represented and exhibited to great effect. Participating in several foreign expositions, Mawji won many prizes for his work and helped to popularise Kutch silver abroad, particularly in Great Britain.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAfter Mawji was appointed Royal Silversmith to the Maharaja of Kutch, he amassed a large international clientele and set the benchmark for other Indian silversmiths to aspire to. He is widely regarded as the greatest Indian silversmith of his generation.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMawji’s workshops were enterprising and he received many fine and important commissions. Helped by his sons and using silver of an extremely high purity (normally 95-98%) he produced many masterpieces which combined superb technical skills with artistry and an overwhelming desire to excel.  His designs were masterful, often joyous and surprising with the high quality of the silverware itself and its ornamentation executed with superb craftsmanship and a high degree of precision.  His quality control was very stringent; objects were made to please and to last. He enjoyed great commercial success in his lifetime. His original design drawings attest to the careful and professional way in which he planned his designs.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eProvenance\u003c\/em\u003e:-  UK antiques trade\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eDimensions\u003c\/em\u003e:-   Height 11 cms;  Width 12.5 cms (Max)\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight\u003c\/em\u003e:-          180 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences\u003c\/em\u003e:-\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eOomersi Mawji, original design drawings\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eJohn L Stoddard, Glimpses of the World, A Portfolio of Photographs of the Marvelous Works of God and Man, The Werner Company, New York USA 1892\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eVidya Dehejia, Delight in Design – Indian Silver for the Raj, Mapin Publishing, India 2008\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eWynyard R T Wilkinson, Indian Silver 1858-1947, Decorative Silver from the Indian Subcontinent and Burma, Made by Local Craftsmen in Western Forms, W Wilkinson \u0026amp; Indar Pashrical Fine Arts, London 1997 \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2020-09-03T04:30:48+01:00","created_at":"2020-07-23T09:59:58+01:00","vendor":"Joseph Cohen Antiques","type":"Heart Shaped Dish","tags":["Kutch Silver"],"price":325000,"price_min":325000,"price_max":325000,"available":true,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":35372809388182,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default Title","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":true,"featured_image":null,"available":true,"name":"Antique Indian Silver Heart Shaped Dish, O.M Bhuj, Kutch (Gujerat), India - Circa 1900","public_title":null,"options":["Default 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\/Antique-Silver-Heart-Shaped-Dish-Mawji-Bhuj-Kutch-India.jpg?v=1599103723","width":1200}],"content":"\u003cp\u003eThis charming antique Indian heart-shaped silver dish was made by Oomersi Mawji, widely considered India's greatest ever silversmith. His workshop was in Bhuj, a city in what is now called the Gujerat region of India but was formerly known as Kutch.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis is a very unusual and fascinating cross-cultural object which reflects the influence of Japanese art on the European aesthetic movement (1860-1900).  At first glance, someone would in all likelihood, assume that this dish was of European origin but it was made in India. If you were able to turn the dish over, you would see that it is clearly marked to the underside with the stamp of Oomersi Mawji:  ‘O.M’ in a rectangular cartouche and, in a separate rectangular cartouche underneath, the word ‘BHUJ’   The marks have been well struck and are clearly defined.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMawji worked predominantly in the Kutch style but also in the European, Madras swami and Calcutta rural village styles. This is a rare example of Mawji’s work in the European style which is testament to his versatility and total mastery of the medium and demonstrates his ability to produce convincing silver in a wide range of styles.  Other examples are known including a copy of a Centaur vase, one of the items excavated from the House of Silver in Pompeii and several of Mawji’s surviving design drawings also feature European cityscapes.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIn his book ‘Industrial Arts of India’, published in 1880, George Birdwood writes, ‘Lord Northbrook exhibited at Paris (the Paris International Exposition of 1878) some fine Kutch repousse work by Umersi Manji, a goldsmith of Katch, Bhuj’.  Despite the strange spelling, this is obviously a reference to Oomersi Mawji. It is known that Mawji exhibited at many exhibitions in India, Britain and elsewhere.  Several pieces of his work featuring Italian landmarks, such as this, or replicating Italian archaeological finds or classical statues are also known.  Although we have not yet found documentary evidence, it seems very likely that these objects may have formed part of the Indian exhibit at the Milan International Exposition of 1906. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFlowers adorn the rim and frame the central scene.  They have been portrayed in the Japanese style with characteristic asymmetry and elegant surface patterning. These flowers: irises, hydrangea, plum blossoms and wisteria, are some of Japan’s favourite and most iconic flowers. However, the centre of the dish illustrates a favourite Italian topographical scene or veduta, a view of Rome’s Ponte Sant’Angelo, a bridge which spans the River Tiber.  In the background is St Peter’s Basilica and to the right is the Mausoleum of Hadrian.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis bridge was a favourite subject for artists including Flemish artist, Lieven Cruyl, working in Rome in the 17th Century and Piranesi and Antonio Joli in the 18th century.  By the late 19th century great advances in photography and printing processes allowed the production of affordable, mass produced books illustrated by photographs, such as Stoddard’s ‘Glimpses of the World’ which contained a photograph of the Ponte Sant’Angelo.  These books were sometimes sold by subscription and aimed at the burgeoning middle class.  They captured views of the world and brought them into people’s homes, allowing for virtual but realistic ‘travelling from an armchair’ for the first time.  It is likely that Mawji based his design on an illustration he found in this book or in a similar publication. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMawji’s interest in Italy may well have been ignited by the building of a new palace for the \u003cem\u003eMaharoa\u003c\/em\u003e of Kutch in Bhuj which started in the reign of Pragmal II.  The building was designed by architect and former British Indian army officer, General Henry St Clair Wilkins, who also supervised the construction.  Building works commenced in 1865 and the palace was completed in 1879 during the regency of Pragmal’s son, Khengarji III.  This palace became known as the Prag Mahal.  It was designed in an Italianate style variously described as Italian Gothic, Romanesque and Indo-Saracenic Revival.  \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAlongside scores of local builders and labourers, many Italian artisans were brought over from Italy to labour on the palace’s construction and ornamentation.  Their wages were paid in gold coins.  The building featured Italian marble, a clock tower, Corinthian columns, chandeliers, classical statues and jali work, depicting European plants and animals.  As Mawji would have been working in Bhuj during the long building project, it is very likely that he became deeply interested in the palace’s design and construction and likely met some of the Italian craftsmen involved in the project, perhaps even becoming friends with some, particularly after he was appointed Royal Silversmith to the Maharao which may have necessitated visiting the construction site.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eOomersi Mawji has become the best known and most celebrated Indian silversmith of his generation. His first workshop was in Bhuj, Kutch and with help from the Maharaja of Kutch, he became the premier Kutch silversmith.  Silver from the Kutch (Cutch) region of India was probably the most famous of the various Indian regional styles. The Maharajas of Kutch gave a great deal of help to the silversmiths living there. Championing their fine work, they commissioned silver for their own use and sent it out as gifts. They also encouraged and sponsored some of them, including Mawji, to attend various prominent national and international exhibitions, ensuring that the region’s silverware was always well represented and exhibited to great effect. Participating in several foreign expositions, Mawji won many prizes for his work and helped to popularise Kutch silver abroad, particularly in Great Britain.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAfter Mawji was appointed Royal Silversmith to the Maharaja of Kutch, he amassed a large international clientele and set the benchmark for other Indian silversmiths to aspire to. He is widely regarded as the greatest Indian silversmith of his generation.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMawji’s workshops were enterprising and he received many fine and important commissions. Helped by his sons and using silver of an extremely high purity (normally 95-98%) he produced many masterpieces which combined superb technical skills with artistry and an overwhelming desire to excel.  His designs were masterful, often joyous and surprising with the high quality of the silverware itself and its ornamentation executed with superb craftsmanship and a high degree of precision.  His quality control was very stringent; objects were made to please and to last. He enjoyed great commercial success in his lifetime. His original design drawings attest to the careful and professional way in which he planned his designs.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eProvenance\u003c\/em\u003e:-  UK antiques trade\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eDimensions\u003c\/em\u003e:-   Height 11 cms;  Width 12.5 cms (Max)\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight\u003c\/em\u003e:-          180 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences\u003c\/em\u003e:-\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eOomersi Mawji, original design drawings\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eJohn L Stoddard, Glimpses of the World, A Portfolio of Photographs of the Marvelous Works of God and Man, The Werner Company, New York USA 1892\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eVidya Dehejia, Delight in Design – Indian Silver for the Raj, Mapin Publishing, India 2008\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eWynyard R T Wilkinson, Indian Silver 1858-1947, Decorative Silver from the Indian Subcontinent and Burma, Made by Local Craftsmen in Western Forms, W Wilkinson \u0026amp; Indar Pashrical Fine Arts, London 1997 \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e"}

Antique Indian Silver Heart Shaped Dish, O.M Bhuj, Kutch (Gujerat), India - Circa 1900

Product Description

This charming antique Indian heart-shaped silver dish was made by Oomersi Mawji, widely considered India's greatest ever silversmith. His workshop was in Bhuj, a city in what is now called the Gujerat region of India but was formerly known as Kutch.

This is a very unusual and fascinating cross-cultural object which reflects the influence of Japanese art on the European aesthetic movement (1860-1900).  At first glance, someone would in all likelihood, assume that this dish was of European origin but it was made in India. If you were able to turn the dish over, you would see that it is clearly marked to the underside with the stamp of Oomersi Mawji:  ‘O.M’ in a rectangular cartouche and, in a separate rectangular cartouche underneath, the word ‘BHUJ’   The marks have been well struck and are clearly defined.

Mawji worked predominantly in the Kutch style but also in the European, Madras swami and Calcutta rural village styles. This is a rare example of Mawji’s work in the European style which is testament to his versatility and total mastery of the medium and demonstrates his ability to produce convincing silver in a wide range of styles.  Other examples are known including a copy of a Centaur vase, one of the items excavated from the House of Silver in Pompeii and several of Mawji’s surviving design drawings also feature European cityscapes.

In his book ‘Industrial Arts of India’, published in 1880, George Birdwood writes, ‘Lord Northbrook exhibited at Paris (the Paris International Exposition of 1878) some fine Kutch repousse work by Umersi Manji, a goldsmith of Katch, Bhuj’.  Despite the strange spelling, this is obviously a reference to Oomersi Mawji. It is known that Mawji exhibited at many exhibitions in India, Britain and elsewhere.  Several pieces of his work featuring Italian landmarks, such as this, or replicating Italian archaeological finds or classical statues are also known.  Although we have not yet found documentary evidence, it seems very likely that these objects may have formed part of the Indian exhibit at the Milan International Exposition of 1906. 

Flowers adorn the rim and frame the central scene.  They have been portrayed in the Japanese style with characteristic asymmetry and elegant surface patterning. These flowers: irises, hydrangea, plum blossoms and wisteria, are some of Japan’s favourite and most iconic flowers. However, the centre of the dish illustrates a favourite Italian topographical scene or veduta, a view of Rome’s Ponte Sant’Angelo, a bridge which spans the River Tiber.  In the background is St Peter’s Basilica and to the right is the Mausoleum of Hadrian.

This bridge was a favourite subject for artists including Flemish artist, Lieven Cruyl, working in Rome in the 17th Century and Piranesi and Antonio Joli in the 18th century.  By the late 19th century great advances in photography and printing processes allowed the production of affordable, mass produced books illustrated by photographs, such as Stoddard’s ‘Glimpses of the World’ which contained a photograph of the Ponte Sant’Angelo.  These books were sometimes sold by subscription and aimed at the burgeoning middle class.  They captured views of the world and brought them into people’s homes, allowing for virtual but realistic ‘travelling from an armchair’ for the first time.  It is likely that Mawji based his design on an illustration he found in this book or in a similar publication. 

Mawji’s interest in Italy may well have been ignited by the building of a new palace for the Maharoa of Kutch in Bhuj which started in the reign of Pragmal II.  The building was designed by architect and former British Indian army officer, General Henry St Clair Wilkins, who also supervised the construction.  Building works commenced in 1865 and the palace was completed in 1879 during the regency of Pragmal’s son, Khengarji III.  This palace became known as the Prag Mahal.  It was designed in an Italianate style variously described as Italian Gothic, Romanesque and Indo-Saracenic Revival.  

Alongside scores of local builders and labourers, many Italian artisans were brought over from Italy to labour on the palace’s construction and ornamentation.  Their wages were paid in gold coins.  The building featured Italian marble, a clock tower, Corinthian columns, chandeliers, classical statues and jali work, depicting European plants and animals.  As Mawji would have been working in Bhuj during the long building project, it is very likely that he became deeply interested in the palace’s design and construction and likely met some of the Italian craftsmen involved in the project, perhaps even becoming friends with some, particularly after he was appointed Royal Silversmith to the Maharao which may have necessitated visiting the construction site.

Oomersi Mawji has become the best known and most celebrated Indian silversmith of his generation. His first workshop was in Bhuj, Kutch and with help from the Maharaja of Kutch, he became the premier Kutch silversmith.  Silver from the Kutch (Cutch) region of India was probably the most famous of the various Indian regional styles. The Maharajas of Kutch gave a great deal of help to the silversmiths living there. Championing their fine work, they commissioned silver for their own use and sent it out as gifts. They also encouraged and sponsored some of them, including Mawji, to attend various prominent national and international exhibitions, ensuring that the region’s silverware was always well represented and exhibited to great effect. Participating in several foreign expositions, Mawji won many prizes for his work and helped to popularise Kutch silver abroad, particularly in Great Britain.

After Mawji was appointed Royal Silversmith to the Maharaja of Kutch, he amassed a large international clientele and set the benchmark for other Indian silversmiths to aspire to. He is widely regarded as the greatest Indian silversmith of his generation.

Mawji’s workshops were enterprising and he received many fine and important commissions. Helped by his sons and using silver of an extremely high purity (normally 95-98%) he produced many masterpieces which combined superb technical skills with artistry and an overwhelming desire to excel.  His designs were masterful, often joyous and surprising with the high quality of the silverware itself and its ornamentation executed with superb craftsmanship and a high degree of precision.  His quality control was very stringent; objects were made to please and to last. He enjoyed great commercial success in his lifetime. His original design drawings attest to the careful and professional way in which he planned his designs.

Provenance:-  UK antiques trade

Dimensions:-   Height 11 cms;  Width 12.5 cms (Max)

Weight:-          180 grammes

References:-

Oomersi Mawji, original design drawings

John L Stoddard, Glimpses of the World, A Portfolio of Photographs of the Marvelous Works of God and Man, The Werner Company, New York USA 1892

Vidya Dehejia, Delight in Design – Indian Silver for the Raj, Mapin Publishing, India 2008

Wynyard R T Wilkinson, Indian Silver 1858-1947, Decorative Silver from the Indian Subcontinent and Burma, Made by Local Craftsmen in Western Forms, W Wilkinson & Indar Pashrical Fine Arts, London 1997 

 

£3,250.00
Maximum quantity available reached.

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