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Ewer

  • Place of origin:

    Gujarat (made)

  • Date:

    early 17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    mother-of-pearl secured with iron pins, the base mounted with a brass fillet
    Xray examination demonstrates that the closely similar ewers in the V&A and British Museum have no wood in their construction.

  • Museum number:

    4258-1857

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, room 7, case CA14

This ewer and the set it belongs to are Indian in origin. They were made in Gujarat. However, when the V&A acquired the set in 1857, curators thought these pieces were Italian. This was because the set had a European shape. Another reason was that from about 1600 to 1700 European goldsmiths deliberately copied Gujarati mother-of-pearl work for both familiar and new forms. This created problems of identification for future scholars that still exist today.

Physical description

Ewer, mother-of-pearl sections laid over a framework of metal bands, and secured with iron pins. The base is mounted with a brass fillet. One of a pair.

Place of Origin

Gujarat (made)

Date

early 17th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

mother-of-pearl secured with iron pins, the base mounted with a brass fillet
Xray examination demonstrates that the closely similar ewers in the V&A and British Museum have no wood in their construction.

Dimensions

Height: 25.5 cm approx., Width: 22.5 cm approx.

Object history note

"When acquired by the Museum in 1857, these pieces were thought to be Italian. The conviction that such articles were European was motivated not only by their Western shape, but also by the fact that seventeenth- and eighteenth-century continental goldsmiths consciously copied Gujarati mother-of-pearl work, translating its effects into familiar and new forms, thus creating problems of attribution for future scholars that still exist
today."

Descriptive line

Ewer, mother-of-pearl sections laid over a framework of metal bands and secured with metal pins, Gujarat, early 17th century.

Labels and date

Ewer and salver
1600–25

India (Gujarat)

Mother-of-pearl on a metal frame

Probably made for the Portuguese market in India or for export to Europe

Museum nos. 4258, 4283-1857 [09.12.2015]

Materials

Wood; Mother-of-pearl

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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