Sugar Bowl and Cover thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South Asia, Room 41

Sugar Bowl and Cover

ca. 1880 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This sugar bowl is part of a set made in India between about 1880 and 1890, and was acquired with its matching tea pot and water jug. All are stamped "OM", and are the work of the renowned Oomersi Mawji, Court Silversmith to the ruler of Kutch, Maharao Shri Mirza Raja Sawai Khengarji Bahadurno. Kutch, now in the state of Gujarat in Western India, was a major centre for the production of silverwares in the 19th century, and supplied a huge domestic and foreign market. Kutch silver was found at all the major national and international exhibitions and was sold by Liberty's in their Regent Street, London, store as well as being advertised in their catalogues. Little of this vast output was marked, and few pieces remotely approached the quality of the work of Oomersi Mawji. He and his sons added their own highly distinctive designs of animals, flowers and, occasionally, human figures, to the densely scrolling foliate that was otherwise typical of the region.

Kutch silver was always decorated from the outside, after the piece had been made to the required shape and filled with a mixture of black wax and resin. This mixture absorbed the shock of the hammers and punches used to form the patterns, and was easily removed by heating to melting point when the design was finished, allowing the inside to be smoothed. The outside was then cleaned, and the decorative details burnished.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Sugar Bowl
  • Sugar Bowl Cover
Brief Description
Silver sugar bowl and cover by Oomersi Mawji, Bhuj, Indian, ca. 1880
Physical Description
The spherical sugar bowl has a circular detachable lid and two handles; it rests on four feet terminating in scrolls. The ornamentation on one side includes a pair of fighting stags and on the other a man on horseback spearing a boar.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 11.4cm
  • Height: 13.8cm
Marks and Inscriptions
O.M. BHUJ
Object history
The set cost £3750.00.
Summary
This sugar bowl is part of a set made in India between about 1880 and 1890, and was acquired with its matching tea pot and water jug. All are stamped "OM", and are the work of the renowned Oomersi Mawji, Court Silversmith to the ruler of Kutch, Maharao Shri Mirza Raja Sawai Khengarji Bahadurno. Kutch, now in the state of Gujarat in Western India, was a major centre for the production of silverwares in the 19th century, and supplied a huge domestic and foreign market. Kutch silver was found at all the major national and international exhibitions and was sold by Liberty's in their Regent Street, London, store as well as being advertised in their catalogues. Little of this vast output was marked, and few pieces remotely approached the quality of the work of Oomersi Mawji. He and his sons added their own highly distinctive designs of animals, flowers and, occasionally, human figures, to the densely scrolling foliate that was otherwise typical of the region.



Kutch silver was always decorated from the outside, after the piece had been made to the required shape and filled with a mixture of black wax and resin. This mixture absorbed the shock of the hammers and punches used to form the patterns, and was easily removed by heating to melting point when the design was finished, allowing the inside to be smoothed. The outside was then cleaned, and the decorative details burnished.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic Reference
Vidya Dehejia, "A Cache Uncovered: Workshop Drawings of Oomersee Mawjee & Sons of Kutch" in Dehejia et al, Delight in Design. Indian Silver for the Raj, Mapin Publishing, 2008, pp. 38-47
Collection
Accession Number
IS.164:1,2-2007

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record createdOctober 24, 2007
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