A fine Mughal silver and brass inlaid alloy Bidri Huqqa Base Bidar, Deccan, 17th Century

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Lot 362
, A fine Mughal silver and brass inlaid alloy Bidri Huqqa Base
Bidar, Deccan, 17th Century

Sold for £ 22,800 (US$ 28,911) inc. premium
A fine Mughal silver and brass inlaid alloy Bidri Huqqa Base
Bidar, Deccan, 17th Century
the body of rounded form with narrow truncated neck and slightly flaring neck, the body with a frieze of mihrab panels in low relief containing floral sprays, the divisions with simple floral chains, the shoulder with a frieze of single floral stems within inverse mihrab panels and above a simple floral chain, the neck with a moulded ring with chevron design, the neck with a further frieze of floral stems within mihrab panels, drilled on lower panel
22.5 cm. high

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private UK collection: acquired by the current owner approximately forty years ago from a provincial antiques shop.

    The term Bidri describes metalwork produced in the Deccan, the capital of which was Bidar. It was made from an alloy whose main component was zinc, into which silver, brass and sometimes gold was inlaid. The earliest examples of Bidri wares date from the 17th Century.

    The oldest huqqas for smoking tobacco also date from the 17th Century. A Mughal nobleman, Asad Beg, relates how he was sent by Emperor Akbar on a journey from Northern India to Bijapur in 1604 to escort the daughter of Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II back to the imperial court to marry Prince Daniyal, and he returned with tobacco, a new world plant ("Wikaya'-i Asad Beg" (Memoirs of Asad Beg), The History of India as told by its Own Historians, vol.VI, ed. John Dowson, repr., Calcutta, 1953, pp. 101-4).

    This huqqa base is a fine example of a group of similar vessels produced in Bidar in the 17th Century. Based on the decoration, it was made for the Mughal market, with its simple floral stems, chevron band and floral chain motif. It is of large size as the earliest examples were: by the end of the 17th Century, huqqas became smaller in size with less bulbous shapes and narrower necks. It also has bi-colour inlay of silver and brass against a dark alloy ground: The use of brass inlay had more or less died out by the mid 18th Century. It would originally have been placed on an equally elaborate metal ring for stability. In the course of time, nearly all huqqas have become separated from their foot-rings.

    For a full discussion on the subject, see Mark Zebrowski, Gold, Silver and Bronze from Mughal India, London, 1997, pp. 224-45; and Susan Stronge, Bidriware. Inlaid Metalwork from India, London, 1985.
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