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Ceremonial spoon - Ceremonial spoon

Ceremonial spoon

  • Object:

    Ceremonial spoon

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal empire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, chased and set with rubies, emeralds and diamonds

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case 19

This unique ceremonial spoon was made within the Mughal empire, almost certainly in the court workshops, in about 1600. It is made of gold but is not solid. Its core is lac, the natural resin used in most gold artefacts made in the Indian subcontinent. The form is influenced by Europe, but the technique of setting the stones which relies on using the purest gold (kundan), is indigenous and apparently unique to the subcontinent. The stones covering the back of the bowl and all sides of the stem are rubies, emeralds and diamonds. It was bought by the museum in 1910 from the well-known Hungarian dealer based in India, Imre Schwaiger, for £353.

Physical description

The spoon of European form is of gold with a core of lac. The stones covering the back of the bowl and all sides of the stem are rubies, emeralds and diamonds, set with diamonds along the edge of the bowl and in the knop.

Place of Origin

Mughal empire (made)


ca. 1600 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gold, chased and set with rubies, emeralds and diamonds


Length: 18.6 cm

Object history note

Bought in 1910 from the dealer Imre Schwaiger for £353

Descriptive line

Gold spoon, chased and engraved on the back of the bowl; the back of the bowl and stem set with emeralds, rubies and diamonds in kundan settings, and with a large facetted diamond on the knop; the core filled with lac, a natural resin. Mughal empire, ca. 1600

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Swallow, Deborah and John Guy eds. Arts of India: 1550-1900. text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : V&A Publications, 1990. 240 p., ill. ISBN 1851770224, p.74, no.49.
Susan Stronge, in The Indian Heritage. Court Life and Arts under Mughal Rule, V&A, 1982, cat. 322, p.113, ISBN 0906969263.
p. 71
Ayers, J. Oriental Art in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 1983, ISBN 0-85667-120-7


Gold; Ruby; Emerald; Diamond

Subjects depicted





South & South East Asia Collection

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