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{"id":5591655055510,"title":"Antique Mughal Silver-gilt Enameled (minakari) Ewer (chuski), Mughal India – Early 18th Century","handle":"antique-mughal-silver-gilt-enameled-minakari-ewer-chuski-mughal-india-early-18th-century","description":"\u003cp\u003eThis silver gilt ewer or\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003echuski\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eis of bulbous form with a flared foot, an ‘S’ shaped spout of unusual hexagonal cross-section and is covered by a hinged and domed lid topped by a stylised lotus bud knob. The lid is secured by two looped chains to the body of the ewer and the spout cover is also secured to the body by a chain. It is extremely rare to find a\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003echuski\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eof similar age complete with its lid and spout cover. The spout cover is in the form of a grotesque creature which shows a central Asian influence.  The whole ewer is covered by green and blue enamels applied in geometric bands in floral and foliate diaper patterns with pierced flower motifs to the foot.  The maker has signed the chuski on the underside of the base with an elaborate lotus design.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThese vessels are frequently depicted in paintings from the Mughal period and were made to contain alcohol, normally arak, or opium water, which were widely used as intoxicants, particularly within the courts and noble houses. It is well documented that the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir (1569 -1627), was addicted to opiates and alcohol, against the teachings of his Islamic faith.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe art of enamelling is believed to have been brought to India from Persia and most of the enamellers were members of the Sikh religion.  The enameller, or\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003eminakar\u003c\/em\u003e, usually worked within his own home assisted by members of his family.  He was commissioned by goldsmiths and silversmiths who supplied him with the object to be enamelled which had usually been chased with hollowed out depressions in the surface to accept the enamel.  These depressions were also hatched to aid bonding and in order to enhance the final appearance of the enamel by maximising the interplay of light within the coloured areas.  The enamellers did not manufacture the actual vitreous material they used for enamelling themselves but bought it in, normally from Lahore.  The enameller would grind this material down ready for use.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eEnamelling on silver was much harder and more likely to fail than enamelling on gold because it was much harder to fix the enamel onto silver and some enamellers refused to work with silver. The whole process was lengthy and very complex, requiring many different stages of cleaning, firing and burnishing.  The objects were fired in clay ovens and were placed on pieces of talc during firing. Different colours of enamel required different firing temperatures necessitating a strict order of application. If one firing was not successful it would be redone until it was perfect.  Reportedly, some elaborate pieces required as many as eighteen separate firings with cleaning and polishing between each.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eHendley states that there were thirteen principal enamelling centres and four of these were notable for producing fine blue and green enamels on silver gilt; Lucknow, Bahawalpur, Kangra and Kulu.   It is extremely likely that this\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003echuski\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ewas manufactured in one of those places.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eProvenance:\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e        UK art market\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eSize:\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e                         Height 17 cms, width 13cms max\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight:\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e                   318 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences:\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eT H Hendley, Journal of Indian Art, Issue 2, Volume 1, W Griggs, London1886\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eTerlinden C, Mughal Silver Magnificence (XVI-XIX C.), Antalga (Bruxelles), 1987\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe Asafi Imambara complex, Lucknow\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eChristie’s lot number 425, sale number 5560, Indian and Islamic Works of Art, 29\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eApril 2005\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eSotheby’s lot 237, Art of Imperial India, London, 8\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eOctober 2014\u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2020-08-09T16:52:48+01:00","created_at":"2020-08-09T16:52:45+01:00","vendor":"Joseph Cohen Antiques","type":"Enameled Ewer","tags":["Sold 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silver gilt ewer or\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003echuski\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eis of bulbous form with a flared foot, an ‘S’ shaped spout of unusual hexagonal cross-section and is covered by a hinged and domed lid topped by a stylised lotus bud knob. The lid is secured by two looped chains to the body of the ewer and the spout cover is also secured to the body by a chain. It is extremely rare to find a\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003echuski\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eof similar age complete with its lid and spout cover. The spout cover is in the form of a grotesque creature which shows a central Asian influence.  The whole ewer is covered by green and blue enamels applied in geometric bands in floral and foliate diaper patterns with pierced flower motifs to the foot.  The maker has signed the chuski on the underside of the base with an elaborate lotus design.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThese vessels are frequently depicted in paintings from the Mughal period and were made to contain alcohol, normally arak, or opium water, which were widely used as intoxicants, particularly within the courts and noble houses. It is well documented that the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir (1569 -1627), was addicted to opiates and alcohol, against the teachings of his Islamic faith.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe art of enamelling is believed to have been brought to India from Persia and most of the enamellers were members of the Sikh religion.  The enameller, or\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003eminakar\u003c\/em\u003e, usually worked within his own home assisted by members of his family.  He was commissioned by goldsmiths and silversmiths who supplied him with the object to be enamelled which had usually been chased with hollowed out depressions in the surface to accept the enamel.  These depressions were also hatched to aid bonding and in order to enhance the final appearance of the enamel by maximising the interplay of light within the coloured areas.  The enamellers did not manufacture the actual vitreous material they used for enamelling themselves but bought it in, normally from Lahore.  The enameller would grind this material down ready for use.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eEnamelling on silver was much harder and more likely to fail than enamelling on gold because it was much harder to fix the enamel onto silver and some enamellers refused to work with silver. The whole process was lengthy and very complex, requiring many different stages of cleaning, firing and burnishing.  The objects were fired in clay ovens and were placed on pieces of talc during firing. Different colours of enamel required different firing temperatures necessitating a strict order of application. If one firing was not successful it would be redone until it was perfect.  Reportedly, some elaborate pieces required as many as eighteen separate firings with cleaning and polishing between each.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eHendley states that there were thirteen principal enamelling centres and four of these were notable for producing fine blue and green enamels on silver gilt; Lucknow, Bahawalpur, Kangra and Kulu.   It is extremely likely that this\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003echuski\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ewas manufactured in one of those places.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eProvenance:\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e        UK art market\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eSize:\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e                         Height 17 cms, width 13cms max\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight:\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e                   318 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences:\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eT H Hendley, Journal of Indian Art, Issue 2, Volume 1, W Griggs, London1886\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eTerlinden C, Mughal Silver Magnificence (XVI-XIX C.), Antalga (Bruxelles), 1987\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe Asafi Imambara complex, Lucknow\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eChristie’s lot number 425, sale number 5560, Indian and Islamic Works of Art, 29\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eApril 2005\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eSotheby’s lot 237, Art of Imperial India, London, 8\u003csup\u003eth\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eOctober 2014\u003c\/p\u003e"}

Antique Mughal Silver-gilt Enameled (minakari) Ewer (chuski), Mughal India – Early 18th Century

Product Description

This silver gilt ewer or chuski is of bulbous form with a flared foot, an ‘S’ shaped spout of unusual hexagonal cross-section and is covered by a hinged and domed lid topped by a stylised lotus bud knob. The lid is secured by two looped chains to the body of the ewer and the spout cover is also secured to the body by a chain. It is extremely rare to find a chuski of similar age complete with its lid and spout cover. The spout cover is in the form of a grotesque creature which shows a central Asian influence.  The whole ewer is covered by green and blue enamels applied in geometric bands in floral and foliate diaper patterns with pierced flower motifs to the foot.  The maker has signed the chuski on the underside of the base with an elaborate lotus design.

These vessels are frequently depicted in paintings from the Mughal period and were made to contain alcohol, normally arak, or opium water, which were widely used as intoxicants, particularly within the courts and noble houses. It is well documented that the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir (1569 -1627), was addicted to opiates and alcohol, against the teachings of his Islamic faith.

The art of enamelling is believed to have been brought to India from Persia and most of the enamellers were members of the Sikh religion.  The enameller, or minakar, usually worked within his own home assisted by members of his family.  He was commissioned by goldsmiths and silversmiths who supplied him with the object to be enamelled which had usually been chased with hollowed out depressions in the surface to accept the enamel.  These depressions were also hatched to aid bonding and in order to enhance the final appearance of the enamel by maximising the interplay of light within the coloured areas.  The enamellers did not manufacture the actual vitreous material they used for enamelling themselves but bought it in, normally from Lahore.  The enameller would grind this material down ready for use.

Enamelling on silver was much harder and more likely to fail than enamelling on gold because it was much harder to fix the enamel onto silver and some enamellers refused to work with silver. The whole process was lengthy and very complex, requiring many different stages of cleaning, firing and burnishing.  The objects were fired in clay ovens and were placed on pieces of talc during firing. Different colours of enamel required different firing temperatures necessitating a strict order of application. If one firing was not successful it would be redone until it was perfect.  Reportedly, some elaborate pieces required as many as eighteen separate firings with cleaning and polishing between each.

Hendley states that there were thirteen principal enamelling centres and four of these were notable for producing fine blue and green enamels on silver gilt; Lucknow, Bahawalpur, Kangra and Kulu.   It is extremely likely that this chuski was manufactured in one of those places.

Provenance:        UK art market

Size:                         Height 17 cms, width 13cms max

Weight:                   318 grammes

References:

T H Hendley, Journal of Indian Art, Issue 2, Volume 1, W Griggs, London1886

Terlinden C, Mughal Silver Magnificence (XVI-XIX C.), Antalga (Bruxelles), 1987

The Asafi Imambara complex, Lucknow

Christie’s lot number 425, sale number 5560, Indian and Islamic Works of Art, 29th April 2005

Sotheby’s lot 237, Art of Imperial India, London, 8th October 2014

SOLD
Maximum quantity available reached.

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