Lot 139. A diamond set and enamelled gold covered bowl and stand, Hyderabad, India, 1790-1810. Bowl and cover 5 ¼ ins. (13.3 cm.) high; 3 ½ ins. (9 cm.) diam.; stand 8 ¼ ins. (21 cm.) diam. Estimate USD 300,000 - USD 500,000. Price realised USD 350,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019.
The cover with a square cabochon foiled ruby finial, the underside of the cover engraved with radiating lobes flanking a lion rampant in floral meander border, the interior of the bowl with a stylised leopard engraved under the enamel, the centre of the stand finely enamelled with polychrome flowers and birds on gold ground.
Provenance: By repute, the Nizams of Hyderabad
Habsburg Feldman, Geneva, 9 November 1987, lot 21
Dr. Mohammed Said Farsi
Christie’s, London, 5 October 2010, lot 45.
Literature: Jaffer 2013, p.193, no.69.
Exhibited: The Miho Museum, Koka 2016, p.97, no. 67
Grand Palais, Paris 2017, p.197, no.149
The Doge’s Palace, Venice 2017, p.226, no.154
The Palace Museum, Beijing 2018, p.248, no.158
de Young Legion of Honor, San Francisco 2018, p. 179, no. 92.
Note: This impressive gem set bowl with cover and stand is a rare example of a complete drinking vessel set to have survived from Mughal India. It was probably used for drinking by a royal patron. In his memoirs, the Mughal Emperor Jahangir referred to a crystal cup with a dish and enamelled cover sent to Shah ‘Abbas I of Iran as a gift in 1617. The French traveller, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, recorded seeing Emperor Aurangzeb drinking from a crystal cup with a gold dish and gem encrusted cover (Beijing 2018, p.248). The underside of the lid is decorated with an image of a stylized leopard or lion which is a royal motif used throughout India. It also alludes to the Caliph ‘Ali, known as the ‘Lion of God’, implying that the set was made for a Shi’a patron (Jaffer, 2013, p.193). The translucent green enamelling links this set to a small group of objects in the sale which were made in Hyderabad in the Deccan in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, see also lots 240 and 241.
There is a comparable red and white enamelled gold covered bowl and tray from North India, dated circa 1700, in the Al-Sabah Collection in Kuwait (LNS 2191 Ja-c; Keene and Kaoukji, 2001, p. 78, no. 6.38). Another comparable example is a Deccani rock crystal bowl with an enamelled gold cover and tray, dated 1811 and inscribed ‘Sarkar Imad ud daula Bahadur’ in the Wallace Collection, London (inv. no. 1662, Zebrowski 1997, p.79, pl. 65).