AUD $4,800.00

Mughal Leather/silver Bowl

This intriguing old, round, silver lined leather bowl is said to be "Mughal" but appears rather primitive for such. (but that term can describe age rather than courtly provenance. "Mughal" usually refers to pre the dethronement of the last Emperor, by the British in 1857.)

It has no handles and is quite shalllow and almost "shieldlike" but turned over and held in both hands it becomes a bowl, its function would appear to me, to be passed from hands to hands in a drinking ceremony.

Its rounded base, to me, implies a cup that is emptied before being put down (like a stirrup cup in Europe) however in a nomadic or military culture where there are no tables or flat surfaces, a curve sits well on a rug.

The dark burnt umber leather which is now worn to a shiny "soft" surface is attached to a base with doubled fine silver wires sewn in a radiating scale design surrounding a leaf, which could be a grape. This reinforcing sewn design is embellished with many flat, round high carat gold studs strategically applied in patterns, which with the now tarnished silver would once have created a rich light catching contrast.

The obviously handbeaten silver bowl is darkly oxidized but appears to have been partially polished som e time ago. The result is that what was shined up is now a matte dark olive/grey revealing the many dents of hand beating. But the most fascinating thing is that the silver wire stitches on the leather have left imprints worn into the silver bowl. These stitch "ghosts" are not in the same layout as the exterior patterns, but are in horizontal, possibly spiralling rows which indicate construction rather than decoration.

The remnant very darkly oxidized areas are an indication of the real age of this bowl.

The grape leaf, if it is such, would hint at wine being the offered beverage, but the leaf has too many lobes to be accurate, so it might be artistic license or in fact another plant.

Found in Pakistan it could be from any of the surrounding countries, it appears to be 19th Century or maybe Early 20th Century, but could  be older.

Age: 19th Century/Early 20th Century

Size: Diam 220 mm x 225 mm x D 73 mm.

Weight:  795 grams.