Lot 228. A two-coloured jade spoon, Mughal, 18th centuryEstimate 8,000 — 12,000 GBP. Lot Sold 22,500 GBP. Photo: Sotheby’s.

The spinach green bowl of scalloped form tapering to a neck carved with a band of acanthus leave, the pale green haft carved with ribs terminating in a scrolling finial rendered in the form of a peacock; 18.2cm.

Notes: Mughal jade spoons are rare, a spoon of similar form was sold through these rooms 14 October 1999, lot 166 and other examples are in the National Palace Museum, Taipei (Taipei 1983, p.210, pl.43), the Victoria & Albert Museum (Skelton 1982, no.365) the al-Sabah Collection (Keene 2001, 2.13) and the Khalili Collection (Khalili et al 2010, no.31).

The fashioning of objects from hardstone has ancient origins in India. The use of nephrite jade appeared during the sixteenth century when a Khotanese jade merchant visited Emperor Akbar’s court. The Mughals, like their Timurid ancestors from Central Asia, were particularly fond of nephrite jade. Emperor Jahangir (r.1605-27) initially commissioned a number of pieces that were based on Timurid prototypes, however towards the end of his reign more naturalistic designs appeared. This naturalistic approach continued under the patronage of his son Emperor Shah Jahan (r.1628-58) when the quality of jade carving reached exceptional heights. During Aurangzeb’s reign (r.1658-1707) works of jade were standardised into a variety of set forms upon which late eighteenth and nineteenth-century pieces were modelled (Dye 2001, p.408). 

Sotheby’s. Art of Imperial India, London, 08 oct. 2014