India’s rich, cultural heritage and strong sense of design is hugely characteristic in the world of Indian art and antiques.
India’s rich, cultural heritage and strong sense of design is hugely characteristic in the world of Indian art and antiques. Often there are many religious influences such as Buddhism, Islam, Jainism and Hinduism. Indian silver was mainly produced during the era of the British rule, the Raj period from the mid19th century – early 20th century. Silversmiths during this time began producing silver the local market and sold to British administrators and travellers. The pieces produced at the time were heavily influenced by both European and Indian tastes and styles. The Indian art of this time was also influenced by Islamic art, mainly Persia. The silversmith first had to create the form of their piece and used various techniques, the most commonly used one was known as the repousse method. A mixture of resin and black wax would be poured in to protect and support the silver from the shock of the punches and the hammers required to create the intended form and design. The resin mix would be heated to melting point for easy removal following the design. Once the form had been created huge emphasis was put onto the embellishment of the piece. This was normally done in traditional Indian style but some were embellished in European style. As always, different styles were produced depending on region but, more often than not, the silver would be embellished densely and the silversmith would spend huge amounts of time and effort dedicated to decorating their pieces. The scenes were often of native flora and fauna and scenes of hunting and/or village life. Indian silver escalated in popularity after 1851 and its exposure at the Great Exhibition in London. After Queen Victoria was announced as Empress of India in 1877 the steady interest that the world had in Indian silver went on to soar in popularity.