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  • Place of origin:

    India (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Greyish olive green nephrite jade, fashioned and polished using abrasives and abrasive-charged tools.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This cover has been fashioned from a single piece of nephrite jade, and was made within the Mughal empire, probably in the late 18th or early 19th century.

Physical description

A cover for a box, fashioned in greyish olive green nephrite jade and polished. The cover is an asymmetric elongated heart shape with a gently domed interior which is smooth and lightly polished and the rim has been recessed to allow the lid to locate securely onto the box. The upper surface has been carved in low relief with a flower and leaf design that is somewhat symmetrical but is slightly skewed and altered to fit onto the surface. There is a crack extending from one side just above a brown patch.

Place of Origin

India (made)

Materials and Techniques

Greyish olive green nephrite jade, fashioned and polished using abrasives and abrasive-charged tools.


Length: 106.5 mm, Width: 71.85 mm, Height: 7.9 mm, Depth: 5.0 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

A cover for a box, asymmetric elongated heart shape, greyish olive green nephrite jade, flowers and leaves carved in low relief, India




Containers; Gemstones; Hardstone


South & South East Asia Collection

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