Jahangir's jade wine cup
- Place of origin:
- Materials and Techniques:
- Credit Line:
Given by the Royal Asiatic Society
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
South Asia, room 41, case 19
This wine cup of dark green nephrite jade was owned by the Mughal emperor Jahangir (r.1605-1627), whose name is included in the Persian verses incised in nasta'liq script round the rim and filled at a later date with white composition. The verses 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 are interrupted by two quatrefoils containing the date according to the Muslim era (1022) and the emperor's regnal year (8) which together show that the cup was inscribed between 21 February and 6 August 1613. The quatrain includes a verse known to have been written by Sa'ida-ye Gilani, the head of the royal goldsmiths' department during the reign of Jahangir, who was also a master calligrapher who specialised in inscribing jade and precious stones. The writing on the cup also compares closely with that on a spinel known to have been calligraphed by Sa'ida, thus making it almost certain that he was the maker of the cup, as demonstrated by A.S. Melikian-Chirvani in "Sa'ida-ye Gilani and the Iranian Style Jades of Hindustan", Bulletin of the Asia Institute, New Series/Volume 13, 1999, , pp. 83-140.
The cup was part of the collection of the Royal Asiatic Society deposited in the India Museum and transferred to the South Kensington Museum in 1879, before being given to the V&A in 1924.
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.
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
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 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
Height: 3.8 cm, Diameter: 8.8 cm
Object history note
The cup was part of the collection of the Royal Asiatic Society deposited in the India Museum, transferred to the South Kensington Museum in 1869, and given to the V&A in 1924. The museum of the Royal Asiatic Society was maintained from the founding of the Society in 1823 to 1869 when the Society moved to smaller premises. The contents of the museum were nearly all disposed of, most going to either South Kensington or the British Museum. See Kathy Lazenbatt, "The Early History and Collections of the RAS" in Royal Asiatic Society, Newsletter, Spring 2008, pp. 7-9.
Wine cup of Jahangir, nephrite jade, Mughal, dated 1022 AH/1613-14.
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
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, , pp. 83-140. Guy, J., and Swallow, D., (eds). ‘Arts of India: 1550-1900’. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990. ISBN 1851770224.p83, no.59.
Robert Skelton, in The Indian Heritage. Court Life and Arts under Mughal Rule, V&A, 1982, cat. 351, p.117, ISBN 0906969263.
The Indian Heritage: Court Life and Arts under Mughal Rule (Victoria and Albert Museum 01/01/1982-31/12/1982)