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Ink pot

  • Place of origin:

    Turkey (Possibly, made)
    Mughal empire (possibly, made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Nephrite jade, fashioned, carved and polished using abrasives and abrasive-charged tools.

  • Museum number:

    647-1874

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This pot was made within the Mughal or, possibly, Ottoman empire and probably dates from the 18th century. It has been fashioned from a single piece of nephrite jade, which is a hard and durable material that requires patience and skill to work. Although it is a hard material, when it has been worked to give fine edges or thicknesses, it can be prone to damage by sharp impacts or significant and rapid changes in temperature. in 1874.
The piece was bought from William Tayler in 1874 who acquired it during his time in India. 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".

Physical description

An oval pot fashioned in dark green nephrite jade, with no neck but with a crudely finished opening suggesting that it has been altered after incurring damage to the intended neck. The pot stands on an oval, slightly flared and recessed foot that has an engraved rim. The exterior is polished with vertical, carved channels around the centre, a lower band of engraved slanting lines that extend to the foot and with an upper border of repeating designs, carved in low relief.

Place of Origin

Turkey (Possibly, made)
Mughal empire (possibly, made)

Materials and Techniques

Nephrite jade, fashioned, carved and polished using abrasives and abrasive-charged tools.

Dimensions

Length: 64.15 mm 647-1874, Width: 58.1 mm 647-1874, Height: 50.1 mm 647-1874, Depth: 42.4 mm 647-1874, Length: 36.85 mm 647-1874, Width: 28.0 mm 647-1874, Depth: 3.1 mm 647-1874

Object history note

This ink pot 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 £3-0-0.

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

Ink pot, oval, without neck and with crudely finished opening, carved channels, dark green nephrite jade, Mughal or Ottoman, date uncertain

Materials

Nephrite

Categories

Calligraphy; Containers; Gemstones; Hardstone; Writing

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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