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Wine cup - Wine cup of Shah Jahan

Wine cup of Shah Jahan

  • Object:

    Wine cup

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal empire (product of the court workshops, probably in Agra, but possibly in Shah Jahan's new city of Shahjahanabad in Delhi., made)

  • Date:

    1657 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    White nephrite jade

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support, and the assistance of the Wolfson Foundation, Messrs Spink and Son, and an anonymous benefactor

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case 19

This unique wine cup of white nephrite jade was made for the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658) and is inscribed with his title, Second Lord of the Conjunction. This follows the conventions of royal titulature in the Persian-speaking world, and specifically alludes to Timur, the Central Asian ruler from whom the Mughals were descended. It is dated 1067 of the Islamic calendar, and regnal year 31, which means that it was made in 1657 AD. In the 19th century, the cup was owned by Colonel Charles Seton Guthrie (1808-1875), a renowned collector of Mughal and other hardstones.

Physical description

White nephrite jade wine cup with lobed body, resting on a flower foot worked in high relief. The naturalistic goat's head recurves towards the body. On the outer wall is a small cartouche giving the titles of Shah Jahan as Lord of the Second Conjunction, the date 1067 and the regnal year 31.

Place of Origin

Mughal empire (product of the court workshops, probably in Agra, but possibly in Shah Jahan's new city of Shahjahanabad in Delhi., made)


1657 (made)



Materials and Techniques

White nephrite jade


Length: 18.7 cm, Width: 14 cm

Object history note

Made for Shah Jahan, and acquired in the 19th century by Colonel Charles Seton Guthrie. It was formerly in the possession of Mr. R. M. W. Walker, on whose death it was sold by Christie & Co (12/7/1945, lot 146) and passed from the purchasers, Messrs Spink, to Queen Marie of Yugoslavia. It again came into the hands of Spink, who then sold it to a Mr Lazarus, who discovered the inscription and sold it back to the vendors. According to Adrian Maynard of Spink (1991) the museum coloured the inscription on acquisition to make it more obvious

Descriptive line

White nephrite jade wine cup, made in the court workshops at Agra or Delhi, dated 1067, regnal year 31, ie 1657.

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, pp. 94-95, ill. no. 73.

Susan Stronge, 'Jade at the Mughal Court in the 17th Century', Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, The Oriental Ceramic Society, London, volume 76.2011-2012, pp. 71-84

Rogers, Emma: Arts of Asia, vol. 45, no. 5, September - October 2015, "The Parasol Foundation Trust Programme: digitising and cataloguing the V&A's South Asian collection.", p. 111, pl. 39.
Robert Skelton, The Shah Jahan cup, V&A Masterpiece leaflet
Susan Stronge, 'Colonel Guthrie's Collection', Oriental Art, vol. XXXIX, no. 4, 1993-4, fig. 1 p. 5.
p. 118. cat. no. 356. Rosemary Crill
The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982 Number: ISBN 0 906969 26 3
p. 71
Ayers, J. Oriental Art in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 1983, ISBN 0-85667-120-7
pl. 53
Irwin, John C., Indian Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1968
fig. 28
Irwin, John, C., A Brief Guide to Indian Art, H.M.S.O. 1962
fig. 28, pp. 22-23
Irwin, John; Indian Art: Victoria & Albert Museum departmental guide, H.M.S.O. ISBN 0 905209117, 1978
p. 215, pl. 178
Stronge, S. Made for Mughal Emperors. Royal Treasures from Hindustan. London and New York, 2010



Subjects depicted

Ram; Flower


Drinking; Ceremonial objects; Royalty; Stoneware


South & South East Asia Collection

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