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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South Asia, Room 41

Jahangir's jade wine cup

Wine Cup
1613 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This wine cup of dark green nephrite jade was made for the Mughal emperor Jahangir (r. 1605-1627). The inscriptions include the date 1022 of the Islamic calendar, and the year eight of Jahangir's reign, corresponding to 1613 AD. The Persian verses in cartouches between the dates may be translated: Through the World-Conquering Shah, the world found order/ our time became filled with light by the radiance of his justice/ From the reflection of his spinel-coloured wine may/The jade cup be for ever like a ruby. The verses have been associated with Sa'ida-ye Gilani, the Iranian master craftsman who was the superintendant of the royal goldsmiths, and also renowned for his skills in working hardstones. It is very likely that he made the cup.
At this time, nephrite jade imported from Khotan was an extremely rare commodity at the Mughal court.
read The arts of the Mughal Empire The great age of Mughal art lasted from about 1580 to 1650 and spanned the reigns of three emperors: Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Hindu and Muslim artists and craftsmen from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent worked with Iranian masters in the masculine environment of the r...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Nephrite jade
Brief Description
Wine cup of Jahangir, nephrite jade, Mughal, dated 1022 AH, regnal year 8/1613.
Physical Description
Shallow cup of dark green nephrite jade, with one handle in the shape of a cockerel's head and neck. Persian verses and the date incised on the rim, filled at a later date with white composition.
Dimensions
  • Height: 3.8cm
  • Diameter: 8.8cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
Az shah-e Jahangir, jahan yaft-e nezam [sana 1022]/......../az aks-e sharab-e la;l rangesh bada/yaqut-asa piyale-ye [sana 8] yashm-e modam (The Persian quatrain is interrupted by two quatrefoils containing the regnal year (sana 8) and the Muslim era year (sana 1022), which gives a date corresponding to 21 February - 6 August 1613, when the court was in residence at Agra.)
Credit line
Purchased from the Royal Asiatic Society
Object history
The cup was made for the Mughal emperor Jahangir. It was later owned by Neil B. Edmonstone (1765-1841), who arrived in India from England in 1783 as a civil servant of the East India Company. He subsequently served as private secretary to the Company's Governor-General of India Lord Wellesley, and later to Lord Minto. He left India in 1817. Edmonstone bequeathed the cup to the Royal Asiatic Society, and it was with that part of the Society's collection transferred 'temporarily' to the India Museum in London in 1869. The museum of the Royal Asiatic Society had been maintained from the founding of the Society in 1823 to 1869 when it moved to smaller premises (see Kathy Lazenbatt, "The Early History and Collections of the RAS" in Royal Asiatic Society, Newsletter, Spring 2008, pp. 7-9). The Indian Museum's collections in turn were dispersed in 1879, and the cup came with other material to the South Kensington Museum. At that time, it was presumed that all the objects from the Royal Asiatic Society had been given to the Indian Museum. In 1923, however, their status as loans to the Indian Museum was recognised and all the items were reviewed, with most being given by the RAS to what was now the Victoria and Albert Museum. The wine cup of Jahangir was purchased, for £100 (see RP1924/2593, Minute from CSC [Caspar Stanley Clarke] dated 27.V.'24).
Summary
This wine cup of dark green nephrite jade was made for the Mughal emperor Jahangir (r. 1605-1627). The inscriptions include the date 1022 of the Islamic calendar, and the year eight of Jahangir's reign, corresponding to 1613 AD. The Persian verses in cartouches between the dates may be translated: Through the World-Conquering Shah, the world found order/ our time became filled with light by the radiance of his justice/ From the reflection of his spinel-coloured wine may/The jade cup be for ever like a ruby. The verses have been associated with Sa'ida-ye Gilani, the Iranian master craftsman who was the superintendant of the royal goldsmiths, and also renowned for his skills in working hardstones. It is very likely that he made the cup.

At this time, nephrite jade imported from Khotan was an extremely rare commodity at the Mughal court.
Bibliographic References
  • A.S. Melikian-Chirvani, "Sa'ida-ye Gilani and the Iranian Style Jades of Hindustan", Bulletin of the Asia Institute, New Series/Volume 13, 1999, [2002], pp. 83-140. Rogers, Emma: Arts of Asia, vol. 45, no. 5, September - October 2015, "The Parasol Foundation Trust Programme: digitising and cataloguing the V&A's South Asian collection.", p. 110,pl. 34.
  • The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982 Number: ISBN 0 906969 26 3p. 117, cat. no. 351. Robert Skelton
  • Irwin, John, C., A Brief Guide to Indian Art, H.M.S.O. 1962fig. 27
  • Irwin, John; Indian Art: Victoria & Albert Museum departmental guide, H.M.S.O. ISBN 0 905209117, 1978fig. 27, p. 21
  • 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.83, pl.59
  • Stronge, S. Made for Mughal Emperors. Royal Treasures from Hindustan. London and New York, 2010p. 202, pl. 173
Other Numbers
  • 01376(IS) - India Museum Catalogue (IS) Number
  • 12,501 - India Museum Slip Book
Collection
Accession Number
IM.152-1924

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record createdDecember 22, 1999
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