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Bowl

  • Place of origin:

    Burma (Possibly, made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Marble (but possibly serpentine), fashioned and polished using abrasives and possibly metal tools, with much of the process involving turning on a bow-driven lathe.

  • Museum number:

    649-1874

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This bowl of uncertain date and provenance has been fashioned from a block of material but is either part-finished or not considered worthy of finishing to a high standard. It was made from either marble or serpentine, both of which can superficially resemble nephrite jade but is much less valued. It is also much softer as suggested by the readily visible tool marks which show how the object was worked on a lathe (most probably bow-driven).

Physical description

A relatively deep, circular bowl standing on an irregular but roughly oval, recessed foot. Fashioned in yellowish green marble (but possibly serpentine), with a marbled patterning and a superficial polish with much of the original tool marks still evident.

Place of Origin

Burma (Possibly, made)

Materials and Techniques

Marble (but possibly serpentine), fashioned and polished using abrasives and possibly metal tools, with much of the process involving turning on a bow-driven lathe.

Dimensions

Diameter: 108.5 to 109.1 mm 649-1874, Height: 54.2 to 55.5 mm 649-1874, Depth: 48.0 mm 649-1874 +/- 0.2, Length: 44.5 mm 649-1874, Width: 40.7 mm 649-1874

Object history note

This bowl 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

Circular bowl, superficial polish, yellowish green marble (or possibly serpentine), possibly from Burma

Materials

Marble

Categories

Containers; Gemstones; Hardstone

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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