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Huqqa base

Huqqa base

  • Place of origin:

    Bidar (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Blackened zinc alloy inlaid with silver

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case 11

This base for a water pipe is known as a "huqqa" in India, and was often called "hubble bubble" in English. It was acquired from the Great Exhibition of 1851, where the richness and variety of Indian decorative arts was appreciated for the first time in the West. It is made from a technique known as "bidri" which takes its name from the city of Bidar, in the Deccan region of India. Bidri artefacts are made from a zinc alloy which is blackened and, typically, inlaid with silver. Bidri wares were immensely popular at the international exhibitions of the second half of the 19th century, and motifs from objects such as this water pipe were reproduced in Owen Jones's influential book, The Grammar of Ornament. The exhibitions stimulated demand considerably and caused new centres of production to spring up in the Indian subcontinent, but this led to repetitious designs and inferior quality as the craftsmen struggled to keep up with their markets.

Place of Origin

Bidar (probably, made)


ca. 1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Blackened zinc alloy inlaid with silver


Height: 22.6 cm, Diameter: 12.4 cm

Descriptive line

Domestic, bidri, Bidar, c1851

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

Darby, Michael, The Islamic Perspective, 1983. Exhibition catalogue, 143p., ill. ISBN 0 905035313
Catalogue n. 94, p106
Susan Stronge, Bidri ware. Inlaid metalwork from India, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985, cat. 27, p. 61


Metal alloy; Silver


Metalwork; Great Exhibition


South & South East Asia Collection

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