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Chauri handle

Chauri handle

  • Place of origin:

    India (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Olive green nephrite jade, ferrous metal (iron or steel). Fashioned using a variety of techniques and with the use of abrasive-charged tools.

  • Museum number:

    614:1, 2-1874

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The parts for this fly-whisk handle, made in India in the late 18th or early 19th century, have been fashioned from nephrite jade and then carved with external, low-relief decoration. Nephrite is a hard and durable material that requires skill and patience to work and objects such as this would have been made for the elite.

Physical description

A handle in two parts, with both having been fashioned in olive green nephrite jade and with an average quality polish.
The first part is cup-like in the form of a partially opened flower bud, possibly a lotus, with the inside being smooth and plain and the outside having fluted sides that descend to two collars of leaves or calyxes. There is a hole drilled in the bottom of the cup down through the stem. There are carved recesses around the outer surface of the base suggesting that they were to be set with stones at a later stage. There are two significant cracks to the cup together with several smaller ones.
The shaft of the handle has parallel, gently curved channels carved along much of its length, ending in a collar of acanthus leaves and a closed flower bud terminal. The shaft tapers from the bud end and a ferrous metal rod has been inserted and fixed in place. Again, there are recesses carved into the bud terminal.

Place of Origin

India (made)

Materials and Techniques

Olive green nephrite jade, ferrous metal (iron or steel). Fashioned using a variety of techniques and with the use of abrasive-charged tools.


Length: 76.6 to 77.1 mm 614:1-1874, Diameter: 64.0 to 65.5 mm 614:1-1874, Diameter: 26.3 to 26.7 mm 614:1-1874, Depth: 39.7 mm 614:1-1874, Length: 182 mm 614:2-1874 +/- 1, Length: 99.7 mm 614:2-1874, Diameter: 18.0 to 18.5 mm 614:2-1874, Diameter: 23.3 to 23.9 mm 614:2-1874

Object history note

This fly-whisk handle was acquired by William Tayler during his time in India (1829-1867). He subsequently sold it to the South Kensington Museum (later renamed the Victoria & Albert Museum) in 1874 for the sum of £6-0-0.

William Tayler was educated in England at Charterhouse and also spent a term at Christ Church, Oxford. He entered service with the East India Company on 30th April 1829, arriving in India in October of the same year. He held various posts in Bengal and was appointed Commissioner of Patna in 1855. During his service, he was able to acquire many objects, including hardstones, relating to the customs and religions of India as well as objects from other parts of South Asia.
He was criticised for his handling of the uprisings in Northern India and was moved to a lesser post before being suspended, ultimately resigning on 29th March 1859. He then practised as an advocate in the law courts of Bengal before returning to England in 1867.
He wrote a book about his experiences, entitled Thirty-eight Years in India, in which he states that "After my return to England, circumstances induced me, though with great reluctance, to part with the collection which is now in the South Kensington Museum".

Descriptive line

Chauri handle, cup-like in the form of a partially opened flower bud, carved shaft with flower bud terminal, inserted metal rod, olive green nephrite jade, India


Nephrite; Ferrous metal


Gemstones; Hardstone; Personal accessories


South & South East Asia Collection

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