Not currently on display at the V&A

Rosewater Stand

1800-1870 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The Holi festival is celebrated throughout India and revellers herald the arrival of spring by throwing coloured powders and squirting coloured water through syringes. This portable stand would have been used to hold the coloured water in the central chamber which is covered with a filigree silver dome. The syringes are conveniently stored around the exterior of the stand. Although today the colours used for Holi include a broad spectrum of hues, the traditional colours were limited to reds and yellows. The red pigment was made from the leaves of the 'tesu' tree (Butea monosperma). This tree is known as the 'flame of the forest' and produces bright red flowers, which are dried and ground to give a saffron colour when mixed with water. The yellow powder was most probably turmeric, which comes from the root of a leafy plant in the ginger family called Curcuma longa. Ground turmeric comes from the fingers of the root, which are boiled or steamed and then dried and ground.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 10 parts.

  • Rosewater Stand
  • Cover
  • Syringe
  • Syringe
  • Syringe
  • Syringe
  • Syringe
  • Syringe
  • Syringe
  • Syringe
Materials and Techniques
Silver
Brief Description
Rosewater stand, silver, octagonal, with perforated dome-shaped cover, surrounded by 8 syringes for Holi, Delhi, India, 1800-1870
Physical Description
Rosewater stand, silver, octagonal, with perforated dome-shaped cover, surrounded by 8 syringes for Holi.
Dimensions
  • Height: 19cm
  • Width: 17cm
  • Depth: 17cm
Object history
Bought (Tayler Collection).
Summary
The Holi festival is celebrated throughout India and revellers herald the arrival of spring by throwing coloured powders and squirting coloured water through syringes. This portable stand would have been used to hold the coloured water in the central chamber which is covered with a filigree silver dome. The syringes are conveniently stored around the exterior of the stand. Although today the colours used for Holi include a broad spectrum of hues, the traditional colours were limited to reds and yellows. The red pigment was made from the leaves of the 'tesu' tree (Butea monosperma). This tree is known as the 'flame of the forest' and produces bright red flowers, which are dried and ground to give a saffron colour when mixed with water. The yellow powder was most probably turmeric, which comes from the root of a leafy plant in the ginger family called Curcuma longa. Ground turmeric comes from the fingers of the root, which are boiled or steamed and then dried and ground.
Bibliographic Reference
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. 98-99
Collection
Accession Number
838:1 to 10-1874

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record createdJune 25, 2009
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