Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A Dundee
Scottish Design Galleries, V&A Dundee

Huqqa

Huqqa
1860s (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This object was purchased by the India Museum at the Paris Exhibition of 1867 and transferred to the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) in 1879. Hamilton & Co., which manufactured it in Calcutta, was founded in Edinburgh in 1808 and traded continuously until 30 June 1970. The huqqa, or ‘hubble bubble’ (smoking pipe), is a fine example of bidri ware, which is made by casting zinc alloyed with small amounts of lead, copper or tin. This forms a base for designs inlaid in silver. The name relates to Bidar, the city in central India most widely associated with the technique, which is unique to India.

The base and stand of this example are inlaid with a silver flower motif and silver mounts. The stem screws into the top of the base and is a hybrid of Indian and high Victorian taste, with naturalistic lotus flowers twining round the central stem. The tobacco bowl and cover are made of separately cast pieces decorated with a lotus pattern in low relief.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Huqqa
  • Huqqa Part
  • Huqqa Base
Materials and Techniques
Blackened zinc alloy overlaid with silver (bidri)
Brief Description
Huqqa of silver and silver inlaid bidri work, with stem entwined with lotus flowers, Hamilton & Co., Calcutta, 1860s.
Physical Description
Huqqa with Indian metal design (bidri) work base and stand, with applied silver flowers around base. Stem, 'chilam' and 'sarpush' in silver, in the form of a flower stem, with naturalistic lotus flowers and leaves twined around it.
Dimensions
  • Height: 85cm
  • Maximum diameter: 50cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Pseudo-assay marks of an elephant and 'P' in Bengali script on the cover of the 'chilim' (tobacco bowl).
Object history
This flamboyant water pipe was almost certainly made for the 1867 Paris exhibition. It is a hybrid of Indian and high Victorian taste.
Historical context
A few Europeans smoked huqqas as late as the 1860s although it was becoming less socially acceptable in English circles.
Production
Letter 'P' in Bengali script close to the pseudo-assay marks denotes the name of the craftsman.
Association
Summary
This object was purchased by the India Museum at the Paris Exhibition of 1867 and transferred to the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) in 1879. Hamilton & Co., which manufactured it in Calcutta, was founded in Edinburgh in 1808 and traded continuously until 30 June 1970. The huqqa, or ‘hubble bubble’ (smoking pipe), is a fine example of bidri ware, which is made by casting zinc alloyed with small amounts of lead, copper or tin. This forms a base for designs inlaid in silver. The name relates to Bidar, the city in central India most widely associated with the technique, which is unique to India.



The base and stand of this example are inlaid with a silver flower motif and silver mounts. The stem screws into the top of the base and is a hybrid of Indian and high Victorian taste, with naturalistic lotus flowers twining round the central stem. The tobacco bowl and cover are made of separately cast pieces decorated with a lotus pattern in low relief.
Bibliographic References
  • Guy, John and Swallow, Deborah (eds.) Arts of India: 1550-1900. Text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990, reprinted 1999. 240 p. : ill. ISBN: 1851770224.p.217, pl.192
  • Jackson, Anna and Ji Wei (eds.) with Rosemary Crill, Ainsley M. Cameron and Nicholas Barnard, compiled by the Palace Museum, translated by Yuan Hong, Qi Yue and Liu Ran. The Splendour of India' Royal Courts : Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Beijing: the Forbidden City Publishing House, 2013. Text in English and Chinese. ISBN 9787513403917.pps. 252-253
  • Arts of Bengal : the heritage of Bangladesh and eastern India : an exhibition organized by the Whitechapel Art Gallery in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum : 9 November-30 December 1979, Whitechapel Art Gallery ..., 12 January-17 February 1980, Manchester City Art Gallery ... . [London]: Whitechapel Art Gallery, [1979] Number: 085488047X (pbk.) :p.72 Stronge, Susan, Bidri ware inlaid metalwork from India, London: Victoria and Albert Museum 1985, no.65, pp.78-80. ISBN 0 905209 63 X
Other Number
6,560 - India Museum Slip Book
Collection
Accession Number
2510:1 to 3/(IS)

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdDecember 22, 1999
Record URL