Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Cover

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal empire (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

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

  • Museum number:

    656-1874

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This 18th century Mughal cover would once have been part of a box that has since been lost, presumably through damage. A subsequent attempt has been made to adapt it for re-use as a dish by crudely grinding a flat face on the domed surface, with little or no regard being paid to the carved decoration. The cover has been carved out of a single piece of nephrite jade which is a hard and durable material that requires time and patience to fashion. The piece was bought by the museum in 1874 from William Tayler, 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

A heart-shaped cover for a box, fashioned in pale greyish green nephrite jade with a smooth and polished interior and an exterior that has been carved in low relief with a flower and leaf design. The top has had a small flat face crudely cut and polished onto it with no concern paid to the decoration, giving the impression that the box for which it was originally fashioned has been broken and that the cover has subsequently been re-worked to allow for its use as a dish.

Place of Origin

Mughal empire (made)

Materials and Techniques

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

Dimensions

Length: 150.0 mm 656-1874 +/- 1.0, Width: 104.3 mm 656-1874, Height: 30.0 to 31.5 mm 656-1874 +/- 1.0, Depth: 27.0 mm 656-1874

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 £8-0-0.

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, heart-shaped, domed, carved flowers and leaves, pale greyish green nephrite jade, Mughal empire, probably 18th century

Materials

Nephrite

Categories

Containers; Gemstones; Hardstone

Collection

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.