A Mughal enamelled and gold inlaid silver dish, India, ca 1700. Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2012
Of circular form with gently outward curving sides and a wide horizontal flat rim, composed of thick solid silver with gold inlaid outlines supporting red, emerald-green and dark blue enamel, composing radiating interior decoration floral sprays around a central rosette, the sides with scrolling vine and rim with flowering vine, areas of minor scratches to silver; 8 5/8in. (22cm.) diam. Estimate £100,000 – £150,000 ($163,400 – $245,100). Price Realized £121,250 ($197,395)
Notes: The subject of radiating floral sprays round a central roundel is a decorative motif common to our dish and to a gold Mughal plate in the State Hermitage Museum, (M. Pitrovsky, On Islamic Art, St. Petersburg, 2001, pp. 104-5). A further bidri brass inlaid tray, lot 240 in this sale, is a slightly alternative example of this radiating floral spray design. The bidri tray illustrates very elegantly the contrast between the more geometric and naturalistic North Indian Mughal design on this silver enamelled dish in comparison to the more stylised and curved foliage found more typically in Deccani inlaid wares, (M. Zebrowski, Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India, London, 1997, p.249). Several other excellent examples of inlaid bidri ware with radiating floral designs are published by M. Zebrowski, op. cit., in particular pls. 422 and 433, pp. 248 and 254).
The use of gold inlay as a housing for glass enamel set into a silver dish is unusual. There are a few examples of Mughal enamelled gold, such as the example previously cited. In addition, in this sale there are other much later examples of enamelled silver from North India, (see lots 247-249 and 289). The extremely rare decorative brilliance of this dish is achieved by a captivating combination of gold and silver. The warmth of the gold enhances the richness of the enamel colours and contrasts wonderfully with the coolness of the surrounding silver.