Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Dark green nephrite jade, fashioned using abrasives and abrasive-charged tools.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This dark green nephrite jade cover would have originally accompanied a matching box but it was acquired by the previous owner as a separate part. It was made within the Mughal empire, probably in the late 18th century. It has been fashioned to a good standard from a single piece of nephrite and such work requires skill and patience to achieve.

Physical description

A cover for a box, trefoil-shaped with an integral handle carved as a lotus bud and there is a small, veined leaf covering each of the joins between the trefoil's lobes. Each lobe is domed and the underside of each has been hollowed out, leaving a ridge between each. The rim has been carefully carved to allow the lid to fit snugly onto the box.

Materials and Techniques

Dark green nephrite jade, fashioned using abrasives and abrasive-charged tools.


Length: 67.0 to 70.0 mm, Height: 19.8 mm

Object history note

This box cover 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

Cover for a box, trefoil shaped, integral handle, dark green nephrite jade




Containers; Gemstones; Hardstone


South & South East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.