Mughal Silver, Large Parcel-Gilt Repousse Silver Footed Sugar Bowl With Cover, The Mughal Empire, Probably Bhuj-Kutch, Gujarat India, Circa 1800 AD.

Identification Number: 180


Generally Speaking, Mughal designs are famous and distinguished by the use of direct, simple, but rather detailed designs, the designs are rather simple, beautiful but the main focus is on the details.

The Mughal artists and their patrimonies, both adopt the principle that not to exaggerate the view of works of art by adding additional overlapping shapes and designs so that they become crowded.

The Mughal floral designs tend to only show the plant stems, branches, flower buds and blooming flowers protruding on a smooth surface with the intention to leave empty spaces around the flowering plants allowing the viewer to focus easily on the strength, beauty and simplicity of the design without feeling a state of loss in exaggerating additional details so that it becomes difficult for the beholder to understand, realize and enjoy the wonderful design, similar designs can be found on Mughal architectural monuments, paintings and textiles.

Our current beautiful and rare footed sugar bowl and cover is made during the Mughal Dynasty era in India and is worked in repousse technique on high grade silver metal and beautifully decorated with floral motifs with typical Mughal motifs of floral scrolls spreading harmoniously all over the item’s body the lid’s finial is designed in the form of an acorn.

The body of the footed bowl is attached with two beautifully chased lion heads soldered on each side of the bowl and fitted with ring handles clasped firmly in the mouth of a lion’s head.

Sometimes its difficult to judge the whereabouts and the origins of certain designs, for Although the item is Mughal and it’s very possible that the item’s shape and design was originated in India but the lion heads handles motif was also widely implemented in Europe and is also it might had been influenced by the European architectural and other works of art in the French Empire style from around 1760.

Therefore the item’s form may well also be considered as colonial for it is also showing strong European Regency style and European neo-classical influence.

It is worth mentioning that the lion in the Indian mythology is always associated with royalty, power and high status.

This piece was most likely made for an Indian royalty or a European dignitary residing or living in India.

Although the bowl has typical Kutch-style decoration, this might suggest that the very famous silversmith Mr. Oomersi Mawji who had emerged famously on the second half of the 19th. Century and is known for making more of Colonial European shapes but with Mughal style floral designs and hunting scenes.

Therefore we suggest that probably Mr. Oomersi Mawji was widely influenced by the style and design that was used on this lot but with one main difference which is the use of mostly densely floral decorated designs with no gaps is been left on the objects without decoration.


27cm High.
11.5 cm diameter base.


Excellent and intact.
The silver gilt to the inside is intact but shows wear to the outside with little remaining. The lid fits tightly and the cup sits straight and upright.


The European Art Market.


1- For similar, simple and beautiful Mughal designs but with the main focus on the details of the designs please see the Taj Mahal by Jean-Louis NOU Amina OKAD, graphic design by Helene Levi, Printed by the national, ISBN 2 11 081271 0, 1993. Please see pales on pages 159-167.

2- For another Similar in shape silver footed sugar bowl with cover compared with our lot, please see the colonial Indian sugar lidded bowl that was made in an elegant Regency-style design in Calcutta by one of Calcutta’s resident British silversmiths, David Hare around (1800–1815).
Also please notice the similarity of the ring handles, which are clasped firmly in the mouth of a lion’s head.
Please see, Arts of India 1550-1900, The Nehru Gallery of Indian Art, Victoria and albert Museum, London, UK, Guy & Swallow, Lot 181 page 205-206, museum no. (IS) 24-1986.

3- For more related of Islamic influenced floral and vegetation design with spacious and more free empty spaces with floral decoration, please see the early work of Oomersi mawji on Rhinoceros-skin shield, lot no. 112, P.81.

4- For similar style and technique of other related silver items which were made in later dates please see the Silver jug made by Oomersi Mawji on lot 114a, p.82, Indian Silver 1858 -1947, Silver from the Indian sub-continent and Burma during 90 years of British Rule, by Wynyard R. D. Wilkinson.

5- Also for similar style and technique of other related silver items which were made in later dates, please see Delight and Design, Indian Silver for the Raj, by Vidya D Ehejia, lot 45 is very similar to our piece, and also lots 39 & 42, p. 126-147.

Condition: Excellent and intact. The gilt to the inside is intact but shows wear to the outside with little remaining. The lid fits tightly and the cup sits straight and upright.