Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, 1st Baronet (1834-90), Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (1841-1910), 1875, 67.0 cm (whole object), RCIN 2031Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

EDINBURGH.- Dazzling works of art that brought the wonders of India to Britain at the end of the 19th century have gone on display in Scotland for the first time in over 130 years, in a new exhibition on view at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse. Exploring the historic visit made by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince's Tour of India 1875–6 brings together some of the finest examples of Indian design and craftsmanship, presented to the Prince as part of the traditional exchange of gifts. 

Encouraged by his mother, Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales undertook a four-month tour of the Subcontinent in October 1875, travelling nearly 10,000 miles by land and sea. By the end of the trip, Sir William Howard Russell, writer of the official tour diary, noted that the Prince had 'seen more of the country in the time than any living man'.  

The royal tour was an opportunity to establish personal and diplomatic links with local Indian rulers, and sought to strengthen ties between the Subcontinent and the British Crown before the declaration of Queen Victoria as Empress of India. It included visits to a number of royal courts, allowing the Prince to experience the splendour and spectacle of Indian courtly traditions, and to learn about the cultures, history and religions of a country he would one day rule. 

As was the custom in India, guests were presented with elaborate gifts by their hosts. Many of those received by the Prince related to the traditions of a durbar (audience), including a magnificent gold service given by the Maharaja of Mysore. The set of ten pieces, which was often referred to as the 'Service of State' during the tour, contains ceremonial objects such as an attardan (perfume holder), rosewater sprinklers and a paandan (betel-nut holder), items associated with welcoming guests to an Indian court. 

As the Prince of Wales entered towns and cities, he was presented with magnificent caskets containing formal addresses. These addresses were read to the Prince to welcome him, and he was expected to give a short reply. During his visit to Agra in January 1876, Albert Edward was given a silver-gilt casket made by the Edinburgh-based goldsmiths Marshall and Sons, probably commissioned by a British official in India. Engraved with the Prince's name, it is decorated with Hindu and zodiac symbols, shamrocks, roses and thistles. 

The Viceroy of India, Lord Northbrook had advised local rulers to select gifts that were the finest examples of local craftsmanship, such as the intricately enamelled vessels from Jaipur and arms from Alwar. In Kashmir, a region known for the production of exquisite textiles, the Maharaja presented the Prince of Wales with a green silk-brocade sash, embellished with silver-gilt thread and woven with a 'buta' pattern. This teardrop-shaped motif was adapted by weavers in Europe, most notably in the Scottish town of Paisley. In the first half of the 19th century, Paisley was the foremost producer of Paisley shawls, and the pattern has since become synonymous with the Scottish town. 

By the end of the tour the Prince had received over 2,000 gifts from the local rulers he had met. Recognising the cultural value and artistic merit of these items, on his return to Britain he made arrangements for them to be placed on public display. The exhibition, The Prince of Wales's Indian Collection, travelled Britain and Europe between 1876 and 1883 to allow as many people as possible to view the extraordinary works from the Subcontinent.  

From 1879 to 1881 the gifts toured Scotland, going on display at the Museum of Science and Art (now the National Museum of Scotland) in Edinburgh, and the Corporation Galleries of Art (now the McLellan Galleries) in Glasgow. In Aberdeen the gifts were displayed at the Town and County Hall, and funds generated from the entrance fee were used towards the construction of Aberdeen Art Gallery. By the end of the tour, they had been seen by over 700,000 people in Scotland.  

Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince's Tour of India 1875–6, developed in collaboration with Cartwright Hall, Bradford, and New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester, celebrates the long-standing relationship between the UK and India, and the vibrant cultural history of the region. The exhibition forms part of the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture, a year-long programme of events led by the British Council, in cooperation with the Indian High Commission.  

Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince's Tour of India 1875–6 is at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, 15 December 2017 – 22 April 2018. The accompanying publication is published by Royal Collection Trust, price £29.95 or £19.95 from Royal Collection Trust shops and website.


Peacock barge inkstand, 1870-76. Gold, enamel, rubies, sapphires, diamonds, silver, pearls and textile; 17.5 x 39.3 x 5.7 cm (whole object), RCIN 11444, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The Prince's visit to Benares ended with a trip down the River Ganges on one of the Maharaja's elaborate state barges. As a memento of the visit, the Prince was presented with this inkstand, modelled on one of the barges. It comes apart into nineteen separate components. The stern is shaped as the head of a makara (a mythical sea creature), and the prow is modelled on a fanning peacock inset with sapphires and diamonds.


Indian School, late 18th century. The marriage of Krishna and Rukminicirca 1790. Opaque watercolour on paper, 43.0 x 29.2 cm (folio dimensions), RCIN 1005113.wRoyal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Mangaldas Nathubhai led the Bombay welcoming committee for the Prince's tour, and invited the Prince to attend his son's wedding. William Howard Russell was struck by the colourful scene, the overpowering scent of flowers and the garlands, and noted that the Prince was ‘festooned with the choicest’. This painting shows the marriage of the crowned Krishna, eighth avatar of Vishnu, and the veiled Rukmini, conducted by moon and starlight in a palace courtyard.


Indian School, late 18th century. Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, circa 1790. Opaque watercolour on paper, 41 x 27.4 cm (folio dimensions)RCIN 1005115.j, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The Prince arrived in Bombay a few days after the city had celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights that commemorates Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu, defeating the ten-headed Ravana, King of Lanka. The Municipal Council of Bombay left the decorations erected for Diwali to welcome the Prince and also to celebrate his birthday on 9 November. This painting shows Rama and his brother Lakshmana shooting arrows at Ravana. The monkey god Hanuman and his army of monkeys can be seen in the background as they make their way over a bridge to destroy Ravana's fort in Lanka.


JB GOMES, Mudaliyar (Active 1875-81), Address casket, circa 1875. Ivory, gold, sapphires, garnets, chrysoberyls, amethysts, pearls; 9.8 x 20.2 x 11.7 cm (whole object), RCIN 11398Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The Prince spent nine days visiting Ceylon, where this casket was presented to him. It contained spices grown there including betel nut, cinnamon, coffee, vanilla and pepper. During this time, the Prince visited the Royal Botanical Garden, an exhibition on the agriculture and horticulture of Ceylon and coffee and cocoa factories.


JAFFNA, Address casket, circa 1875. Gold, silk habotai, rubies and a diamond; 2.7 x 11.7 x 6.7 cm (presentation box), RCIN 11217Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

On the Prince's arrival at each place, formal addresses were read to the him and were later presented in lavish caskets or cases to commemorate the event. Many of these were decorated using techniques associated with the region. The border of this hinged address case is embellished with intricate filigree and granulation. The process, which involves the application of wires and grains of gold, was a highly skilled technique used by Tamil goldsmiths working in Ceylon.


Address casket, circa 1875. Gold, parchment, opaque watercolour, inks; 4.8 x 30 cm (whole object), RCIN 11213Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The Prince of Wales observed the Trichinopoly illuminations and fireworks from a pavilion and was amazed by the sight. A small watercolour by an unknown hand capturing the scene can be found in this address. The body of the gold scroll case is worked in high relief showing Hindu deities such as Ganesh, Shiva, Krishna, and Saraswati.


Address pouch, circa 1875. Silk satin, silver-gilt thread, gold, gold sequins, pearls, emeralds, rubies; 31.0 x 13.6 x 1.0 cm (whole object), RCIN 11428Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

During the Prince's visited to Benares, he laid the foundation stone for a new hospital and was presented with this elaborate embroidered pouch known as a kharita, a traditional pouch used by Indian rulers to deliver messages. This kharita is embroidered with a lion and a unicorn to represent the British royal arms and on the reverse, two fishes to represent the royal crest of Benares.


? Indian; Sialkot; Casket, circa 1875. Steel, gold, velvet, wood, silk satin, 11.9 x 39.8 x 15.6 cm (whole object), RCIN 11248Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Construction of the Alexandra Bridge, named after the Princess of Wales, over the River Chenab, commenced in November 1871. It was completed when the Prince of Wales hammered in the last rivet during his visit. The steel hammer, which the Prince used, was presented in this steel and gold casket of exquisite workmanship. Both are decorated using a technique called kuftkari¸ which involves hammering gold wires onto a hatched surface. At the time of the bridge's completion, it was one of the longest bridges in the world, spanning more than 3000 metres.


Edinburgh. Casket, hallmark 1874-5. Silver and gold, 13.0 x 21.3 x 14.7 cm (whole object), RCIN 11229Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This Indian-inspired casket was made in Scotland by Edinburgh-based goldsmiths Marshall and Sons before it was presented to the Prince in Agra. The sides of the casket are chased with figures that may have been inspired by Hindu deities alongside symbols associated with Britain such as thistles, roses, and the shamrock. Whilst in Agra from 25–27 January, the Prince visited the Taj Mahal, depicted on the address in gold.


AMRITSAR, Punjab, Casket and Address of Welcome circa 1875. Gold, velvet, silver-gilt thread, emeralds, rubies, diamonds, turquoises, enamel, gold sequins, paper, opaque watercolour, black ink; 7.8 x 33.0 x 13.1 cm (whole object), RCIN 11230Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This casket with its inscription of ‘A E’ for Albert Edward in English, Gurmukhi, Urdu and Devanagari was presented jointly on behalf of the Sikh, Muslim and Hindu communities when the Prince visited the city. During this visit, the Prince also went to see the Harmindar Sahib or Golden Temple, the principal Sikh holy monument completed in 1604.


Indian, Jaipur. Pair of peacock feather fans, circa 1850 - 1875. Peacock feathers, gold, enamel, gold sequins, turquoises, pearls, diamonds, glass beads; 94.0 x 18.0 cm (average amongst members), RCIN 11409Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Peacock feather fans were used by court attendants to fan the ruler and played an important role in the spectacle of the Indian court and during processions. The peacock feathers on the central portion of these fans have been masterfully applied with gemstones to accentuate the natural colours of the feather.


Indian. Pair of ceremonial staffs, circa 1875. Ivory, silver and red glass; 59.4 x 5.7 x 4.8 cm (average amongst members), RCIN 11341Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Ceremonial staffs were held by court officials as a symbol of authority, and often depicted the heads of tigers or lions.


Southern Indian. Spearhead, 7th century. Steel, 49.5 x 7.4 x 7.5 cm (whole object), RCIN 37537Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This spearhead dates from the late sixteenth century. The finely cut, pierced and chased motifs make reference to the monumental South Indian temples constructed in the same period by the Nayaka rulers.


Southern Indian, India. Dagger and scabbard, 1800-75. Watered crucible steel, gold, ivory, wood, velvet, diamonds, 37.2 x 12.7 x 5.0 cm (whole object), RCIN 11251Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This dagger is incised directly below the hilt with the ten avatars of the Hindu god Vishnu and was probably made for a Hindu patron. The scabbard mounts have been adapted for presentation with the addition of the Prince of Wales’s feathers. 


Sri Lanka. Sword and scabbard, 1800-75. Copper alloy, tortoiseshell, possibly horn; 62.6 x 9.4 x 3.2 cm (whole object), RCIN 11310Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This Sri Lankan ceremonial sword with its striking hilt resembling a makara (a mythical sea creature) is known as a kastane. The tortoiseshell used for this kastane was probably imported from the Straits of Malacca or the Maldives.


Indian. Parrying dagger, 1870-75. Blackbuck horn and gold, 36.2 x 7.7 x 2.5 cm (whole object), RCIN 11416Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This parrying weapon was designed for presentation rather than use. The horns are mounted in gold and bear an inscribed dedication to the Prince of Wales. One of the end caps shows a figure holding a mace, possibly the Hindu god Hanuman.


Indian. Knife and sheath, circa 1870 - 1875. Silver, gold, wood and rubies; 28.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 cm (whole object), RCIN 11297Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This ceremonial knife known as a pichangatti and traditionally carried by men in Coorg, was presented to the Prince during his attendance at the races at Guindy Park, Madras. The knife is fitted with various grooming implements including tweezers, a scraper, a file and an ear pick. Knives of this type would usually be made of steel, but in this exceptional example the blade is made of silver.


South Indian, India. Dagger and scabbard, circa 1870 - 1875. Steel, gold, wood, emeralds and rubies; 31.2 x 5.8 x 2.6 cm (whole object), RCIN 11302Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This hook-bladed dagger, known as a jambiya, was associated with parts of the Arabian Peninsula. From the early nineteenth century, the Nizams had employed mercenaries from Yemen and this dagger illustrates this historic link.


Mangaran (Active 1859-76), Equatorial sundial, 1875-76. Silver, steel; 16.2 x 15 x 11.3 cm (open, flaps raised, etc), RCIN 11215Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This sundial has two time measures, one measures 60-minute hours and the second measures 24-minute ghatis, a measure of time based on Indian astronomy. Brass sundials of this design exist in several collections; however the use of silver marks this example out as a presentation piece. The highly reflective silver sheet makes it difficult to get a precise reading of time.


Nahan Foundry. Pair of rosewater sprinklers, 1873-76. Silver, 37 x 10.7 cm (whole object), RCIN 11212Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The Raja of Nahan established the Nahan Foundry in 1873. The foundry usually produced industrial objects such as sugar-cane crushers and railings, but as a gift for the Prince made these sprinklers that are supposedly automatic. However the pump mechanism seen at the base of the sprinkler’s neck is not functional. 


Indian. Astrolabe, circa 1875. Silver, steel; 37.2 x 24.8 x 3.7 cm (loop, tassel etc extended), RCIN 11209Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Due to the avid interest of the eighteenth-century ruler, Jai Singh II (1688–1743), Jaipur became a centre for the production of astrolabes, scientific instruments which identify stars and planets, and can be used for navigation. This silver astrolabe has a tubular eyepiece commonly seen in astrolabes produced in Jaipur. The reverse of the top section is inscribed with the co-ordinates for Greenwich, the British centre of timekeeping.


China, Ruyi sceptre, 18th century. Nephrite and silk, 44.8 x 10.2 x 5.9 cm (excluding loop, tassel etc.), RCIN 11328Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Sceptres of this form, called ruyi, were a Chinese ceremonial symbol of power and good fortune. This sceptre is likely to have been made in the eighteenth century during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1711–99). This gift probably reached Nepal from China through diplomatic exchange before it was presented to the Prince.


Indian. Mother-of-pearl tray, 1870-75. Mother-of-pearl shell and gold; 4.5 x 25.2 x 24.0 cm (whole object), RCIN 11391Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This curious card tray was carved in Canton (modern day Guangdong, China) and mounted in India. Carved shells with typical ‘Chinese’ scenes were produced for the export market. The gold mount for this carved shell was probably made in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, which had been a centre of production for mounted mother-of-pearl objects since the sixteenth century.


Indian. Dagger, 18th to 19th century. Watered crucible steel, jade, gold, garnets; 37.6 x 6.4 x 2.3 cm (whole object), RCIN 11361Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Daggers were usually tucked into waist sashes so that the ornate hilts were clearly visible. The blade is made from watered crucible steel, which takes its name from the swirling, water-like pattern that forms when iron is melted in a crucible with carbon-rich vegetable materials.


Indian, Rajasthan. Dagger and scabbard, 19th century. Watered crucible steel, jade, gold, rubies, emeralds, diamonds; 41.5 x 5.0 x 2.4 cm (whole object), RCIN 11309Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Gem encrusted daggers with animal-headed hilts were popular within the Mughal court in the late seventeenth century. They were presented to favoured individuals and worn as an emblem of status.


Indian. Shield, late 18th to early 19th century. Rhinoceros hide, lacquer, gold, emeralds, rubies, diamonds, velvet, gold and silver thread, gold sequins; 40.4 x 8.3 cm (whole object), RCIN 11458Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This shield with its four conspicuous circular bosses was designed for use in courtly ceremony. The face in the centre of the shield is Chandra, the Hindu lunar or moon deity. The leaders of Nawanagar were related to the Jadeja rulers who ruled over many areas in western India and believed they were descended from the chandravanshi (lunar dynasty).


Jaipur. Sword and scabbard, 1775 - 1875. Watered crucible steel, gold, enamel, wood, velvet, silver-gilt thread, 84.0 x 11.5 x 7.6 cm (excluding loop, tassel etc.), RCIN 11421Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This sword belonged to Bishan Singh (1672–99), the former ruler of Amber and ancestor of the rulers of Jaipur. Amber was the former capital before it moved to Jaipur in 1727. The blade of the sword is decorated with an overlaid gold square containing nine numerals in Devanagari, a script predominantly used in north India. Talismanic squares such as this often featured on South Asian swords, in the belief that it protected the owner.


Iranian. Sword and scabbard, circa 1870 - 1875. Watered steel, gold, diamonds, rubies, pearls and velvet covered wood; 100.5 x 15.7 x 3.0 cm (excluding loop, tassel etc.), RCIN 11413Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The rulers of Khairpur were great collectors of blades and would send agents to obtain them from Iran. These would then be fitted with new hilts such as this example. The scabbard mounts and hilt, ornamented with incised decoration, was probably made by a European craftsman working in the subcontinent.


Lucknow. Crown, circa 1875. Gold, enamel, velvet, cotton, silver-gilt thread, diamonds, pearls, emeralds; 16.8 x 32.0 cm, RCIN 11358Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This crown was commissioned for the Prince's visit. It is embroidered in silver-gilt thread with the lion and unicorn of the British royal arms behind the diamond and emerald jewelled ornament, shaped to resemble the Prince of Wales's emblem of three ostrich feathers. Lucknow was a popular centre for this type of silver-gilt embroidery, called zardozi. 


Southern Indian, India. Bangle, circa 1850 - 1875. Gold and rubies, 3.3 x 8.8 x 8.8 cm (whole object), RCIN 11522Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Trichinopoly was famed for its highly sculptural gold jewellery. The Prince purchased this bangle depicting heads of makara (mythical sea creatures), the two largest heads being inlaid with ruby eyes. The Prince purchased this bangle from a peddler, referred to as ‘boxwallah’ in William Howard Russell’s diary, and presented it to Queen Victoria as a birthday present. 


Indian, Udaipur. Turban ornament, mid-19th century. Gold, enamel, emeralds, diamonds, and pearls, 15.6 x 13.5 x 1.9 cm (whole object), RCIN 11286Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The emeralds used for this turban ornament are of impressive size. Up until the late nineteenth century, gemstones from India were usually polished rather than cut to maintain the weight of the gemstone. However the central emerald on this turban ornament has been faceted, which would usually only be done to larger stones. The emerald on the right has a drill hole running through it and may have been repurposed. 


Indian. Necklace, circa 1800 - 1878. Gold, enamel, diamonds, rubies, pearls and emeralds; 22.6 x 15.5 x 0.7 cm (whole object), RCIN 11355Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

London-based jewellers Phillips Brothers & Sons admired Indian enamelling and gem setting, and created jewellery inspired by the techniques of the subcontinent. Here they have encased the diamonds to preserve the original kundan setting. The red and green enamelled ornaments represent an attempt by the jeweller to emulate Indian enamel work.


Indian, Ratlam. Opium box, circa 1875. Silver gilt, gold and glass, 2.8 x 6.2 x 5.8 cm (whole object), RCIN 11537Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This box for storing opium is set with a plaque of green glass fused with a pierced sheet gold showing the Hindu deity Krishna and the gopis (cowherds). Ratlam in central India was a prominent centre for the production of these decorative gold and glass plaques and was also known for opium cultivation.


Mysore. Waist belt, mid-19th century or earlier. Gold, diamonds, emeralds and rubies; 6.9 x 26.5 cm (whole object), RCIN 61971Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The diamonds, emeralds and rubies on the outer surface of this belt have been individually set using kundan to emulate patterns of lotuses and peacocks.


Jaipur. Pair of bangles, circa 1850 - 1875. Gold, enamel, diamonds and pearls; 1.6 x 8.1 cm (average amongst members), RCIN 11290Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The predominant use of dark blue enamelling is typical of Jaipur enamelled jewellery. The Prince may have purchased this pair of bangles on the last day of his visit to Jaipur.


Kashmir. Pair of bottles, circa 1870 - 1875. Gold, 26.5 x 13.0 cm (whole object), RCIN 11446Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The surface of these bottles is incised with motifs popularly described as ‘shawl patterning’, and feature similar motifs found on cashmere shawls produced in Kashmir. This patterning was popular with European visitors to India and firms such as Elkington & Co. in Birmingham began to copy and sell vessels inspired by this design.


Hira Singh (Active 1875), Perfume holder, circa 1870 - 1875. Gold, enamel, diamonds and pearls, 10.2 x 8.9 x 7.0 cm (parts .a and .b together), RCIN 11423Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The components for this budshaped perfume holder appear to have been made in two different workshops, or even parts of India. The style of decoration on the four leaves of the bud, perfume bottles and base suggest that they were made in Madras, in south India. However, the silver filigree work is iconic of metalworkers in Orissa, east India.


Indian. Water bottles, circa 1870 - 1875. Gold, 28.2 x 11.2 cm (average amongst members), RCIN 11362Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The bottles depict water and land animals. Parrots perch on the base of the bottleneck, below which are makara (a mythical sea creature). These are formed from a combination of aquatic and terrestrial animals. On the bulbous section of the bottle, the surface is covered with representations of ducks.


South Indian, India. Casket, circa 1875. Sandalwood and gold, 17.6 x 28.7 x 18.7 cm (whole object), RCIN 11313Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This address casket is embellished with depictions of Hindu deities. This type of decoration was known as swami (god) work and was used to embellish metalwork produced for the export market by craftsmen based in Madurai. The corners of this casket show yalis (mythical elephantheaded lions), which are also depicted in South Indian temples where they were carved in the round to function as pillars.


 Indian. Four perfume holders, circa 1870 - 1875. Gold, 13.1 x 8.2 x 5.3 cm (average amongst members), RCIN 11317Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Perfume, usually rosewater, was used to welcome visitors to court. These perfume holders, in the form of seated lions, have articulated tongues.


Kashmir, India. Sword and scabbard, 19th century. Gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, steel, wood, velvet and silk, RCIN 11410Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This richly jewelled sword may have been the personal sword of the Maharaja. The central emeralds found on both sides of the hilt are engraved with a floral motif.


Indian. Dagger and scabbard, late 18th century to 1875. Watered crucible steel, rock crystal, iron, gold and rubies; 42.2 x 11.1 x 3.1 cm (whole object), RCIN 11346Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This dagger, with its rock crystal hilt, likely predates the scabbard, which was possibly made for presentation to the Prince.


Indian, Mughal. Dagger and scabbard, early 18th century. Watered crucible steel, jade, lacquered wood, gold, diamonds and rubies; 36.5 x 10.6 x 1.8 cm (whole object), RCIN 11450, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

In the late seventeenth century, access to trade routes into Khotan (modern day Hotan, China) led to the increased use of jade within the Indian courts. Indian lapidaries (gem workers) carved jade dagger hilts to resemble Arabian horse head hilts, which would be presented to high ranking nobles at court.


South Indian, India. Punch dagger and scabbard, 1800-75. Steel, gold, diamonds, wood, velvet; 64.0 x 9.0 x 11.0 cm (whole object), RCIN 11487, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This punch dagger known as a katar incorporates the motto and symbols of the Order of the Star of India, established in 1861 by Queen Victoria. The Maharaja of Vizianagaram had been awarded this order in 1864 and the mounts of the dagger are adapted with the Prince of Wales's feathers.


Indian. Sword and scabbard, 1800-75. Steel, gold, enamel and diamonds; 89.2 x 11.1 x 3.8 cm (whole object), RCIN 11350Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This elaborate sword and its scabbard were designed for ceremonial wear rather than use in battle. The hilt, modelled to represent cheetah heads inlaid with diamonds, is made of solid gold.


Mohamed Ibrahim (Active 1877), Sword, late 18th to late 19th century. Steel and gold, 87.0 x 12.2 x 7.5 cm (whole object), RCIN 11238Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The blade of this sword with its fine dark watered pattern is of exceptional quality, and the inscriptions, which include a dedication to the Prince of Wales in Persian, are inlaid with gold.


? Indian, Punjab. Shield, 19th century. Rhinoceros hide, gold, diamonds, emeralds and pearls; 11.5 x 55.7 cm (whole object), RCIN 11411Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This shield is decorated with enamelled and diamond bosses in the form of curled up cheetahs. Originally the surface was lacquered to create a smooth finish. In many parts of India animal hide was used to make shields as it is light to wear and handle but also strong and durable enough to withstand blows from bladed weapons and, reputedly, bullets.


IndianShield, circa 1870 - 1875. Rhinoceros hide, velvet, red, black and gold paints, shellac, gold, emeralds, diamonds, rubies; 9.8 x 50.0 cm (diameter)RCIN 11348, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Tonk, a town in Rajasthan, was known for producing shields in imitation of Japanese lacquer. It is likely that some of the jewels on this shield have been repurposed from other jewelled objects, one of the jewelled circular bosses contains an emerald with an incised floral motif.


Northern Indian. Arm guards, 18th century. Steel, gold, diamonds, pearls, velvet, silk; 48.2 x 11.5 x 9.5 cm (average amongst members), RCIN 11496, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The luxurious materials used to embellish these armguards indicate that they were designed for ceremonial wear. During the Prince's stay with the Maharaja of Gwalior, the ruler organised a military review where many of his attendants wore jewel-encrusted armour, of the same type as these dazzling armguards.


Indian. Punch dagger, circa 1870 - 1875. Steel, silver, gilded iron; 39.8 x 8.8 x 1.8 cm (whole object), RCIN 11227, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Traditional punch daggers from India had a single blade, but this curious example has a spring mechanism that, when activated, causes the blade to split to reveal another.


Indian. Axe knife and sheath, circa 1870 - 1875. Steel, copper, gold, wood and red glass; 61.8 x 6.2 x 3.7 cm (whole object), RCIN 11434Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This type of weapon was referred to as a bhuj after the city in western India that it originated from. The pommel unscrews to reveal a slender dagger within its handle.


Indian. Punch dagger with pistols, 1870-75. Watered crucible steel, gold, rubies, emeralds; 39.1 x 14.2 x 1.4 cm (whole object), RCIN 11455Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Indian punch daggers known as katars were designed to be gripped on the cross transverse section for short range combat. This katar has been adapted to include two single shot pistols on the side guards parallel to the blade. 


Indian. Walking stick gun, 1870-7. Steel, gold, wood, emeralds and rubies, 103.4 x 6.6 x 2.6 cm (whole object), RCIN 11484Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The Prince received several intriguing weapons designed as a display of the craftsman’s technical skill. This walking stick can be converted into a three section gun. The head is shaped to form a makara (a mythical sea creature).


Iranian. Sword, scabbard knife and scabbard, 19th century. Steel, gold, mother of pearl, iron, rubies, emeralds, pearls. fabric and cord; 127.6 x 8.6 x 6.0 cm, RCIN 11283Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The court of Khairpur, in modern day Sindh, Pakistan, had strong links with the contemporary Iranian courts and employed Iranian craftsmen. The enamels from this area were usually of pastel pink and purple hues, similar to those then used in Iran.


 Lucknow. Dhal (shield), 1800-75. Silver gilt, brass, enamel and diamonds; 6.7 x 48.0 cm (whole object), RCIN 11278, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This ceremonial shield is encrusted with over 800 diamonds. Lucknow, where this shield was originally made, was renowned for enamelling in blue and green.


Ram Singh (Active c. 1870-75), Plate, circa 1870 - 1875. Gold and enamel, 2.7 x 32.3 cm (whole object), RCIN 11469Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This salver with its intricate enamelling was said to have taken more than four years to make before being presented to the Prince, although it was not made especially for him as the tour was only officially announced a few months in advance. The round panels depict the Chandra Mahal and the Jal Mahal, two palaces in Jaipur. 


Indian. Cosmetic box, c. 1870-75. Gold, enamel, diamonds and mirror glass; 3.0 x 8.3 x 6.4 cm (whole object), RCIN 11507Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Jaipur was a centre of enamelling of the highest quality, usually incorporating rich patterning in red, green and white. This box shows various animals in combat, a popular entertainment at court.


Indian. Bottle and salver, circa 1870 - 1875. Gold, enamel, diamonds and a ruby; 26.5 x 18.8 x 18.8 cm (whole object), RCIN 11427Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Jaipur was a celebrated centre for polychrome enamelling. This enamelled bottle and salver of remarkable quality showcases the skill and precision of the enameller.


? Ghuma Singh (Actoive 1875), Cup, cover and saucer, circa 1870 - 1875. Gold, enamel and diamond; 10.2 x 8.9 x 7.0 cm (parts .a and .b together), RCIN 11424Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Covered cups were used in court to store solid perfume but were later adapted with a handle to resemble European cups and saucers. 


Indian. Perfume holder, circa 1870 - 1875. Gold, silver and rubies; 27.0 x 19.0 x 15.5 cm (whole object), RCIN 28692Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017 

This perfume holder in the form of a lotus flower is recorded to have taken five years to complete. The mechanism allows the petals of the flower to open, revealing a red and yellow enamelled cup.


Indian. Antimony holder, circa 1875. Silver, silver gilt, red seeds and rock crystal; 13.0 x 4.4 x 5.1 cm (length without chain), RCIN 11231Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017 

The body of this articulated fish is made from silver rings with individually engraved scales. The rod would have been used to apply the kohl eye makeup contained inside the body of the fish.


Indian. Gold fish, circa 1875. Gold, rubies and an emerald; 20.2 x 6.1 x 3.6 cm, RCIN 11319Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017 

This articulated fish is made of gold rings engraved to mimic scales and fastened together in sections to allow for the body to move side to side. Containers for kohl eye makeup or perfume were often modelled on fish however, as the mouth of this example is secured with a pin, its function is unclear. 


Indian. Perfume holder, circa 1870 - 1875. Gold, rubies and emeralds; 9.0 x 12.0 x 10.0 cm (parts .a and .b together), RCIN 11479Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017 

This perfume holder is designed to store solid perfume. A Gujarati inscription on the lower tray is obscured from view by the upper tray and bottle, suggesting they were made separately but attached later to create a more impressive gift for the Prince of Wales.


Indian, Cutch. Pair of rosewater sprinklers, c.1870-75. Gold, 28.2 x 6.7 x 5.4 cm (average amongst members), RCIN 11475Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017 

This pair of rosewater sprinklers is inspired by the tale of the two twelfth-century competing goldsmiths. One of the goldsmiths, Nandu, produced a crane that pecked and drowned a gold fish made by his opponent Gangu. 


Indian, Indore. Pair of boxes for betel nut (paan), circa 1870 - 1875. Silver and silver gilt, 11.5 x 12.2 cm (average amongst members), RCIN 11381Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Paan is a mixture of ingredients such as shavings of betel nut (a mild stimulant with similar effects to caffeine), seeds, coconut and occasionally tobacco wrapped in a betel leaf, which was offered at the end of formal court gatherings. The individual hinged covers are designed to store the various ingredients used to prepare paan. The compartments are in the shape of betel leaves.


Ibrahim (Active 1877), Dagger and scabbard, 1877. Gold, enamel, steel, pearls, diamonds, wood and velvet; 40.6 x 4.5 x 3.7 cm (whole object), RCIN 11289Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This dagger was a late gift to the Prince of Wales from the Maharaja of Alwar and was sent to the Prince whilst the gifts were on display at Bethnal Green Museum in 1877. It has an ingenious blade with a curved channel filled with loose pearls that move with the motion of the dagger. The dagger was made by a swordsmith called Ibrahim and is one of the few examples of the Prince’s gifts where the maker is known. The rulers of Alwar exhibited swords and daggers made by Ibrahim at international exhibitions, such as the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London in 1886, of which the Prince of Wales served as Executive President. Today, the dagger is considered to be one of the finest examples of Indian craftsmanship in the Royal Collection.


Indian. Sash, 1850-75. Silk brocade, gold, pearls and diamonds; 199.5 x 25.2 x 0.3 cm (whole object), RCIN 11412Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

By the early nineteenth century, Paisley was a leading centre of production for imitation Kashmiri shawls. These were iconic for their design incorporating the buta (bud) motif. This stylised Indian motif, as seen embroidered on this patka (sash) from Kashmir in north India, became closely associated with this Scottish town. Today the motif, which is ubiquitous in British design, is commonly referred to as ‘paisley’ after the town, demonstrating a lasting link in design with India