Lot 359
  • 359

A large and impressive bidri brass and silver-inlaid huqqa base, Deccan, India, mid-17th century

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • brass and silver
of compressed spherical form surmounted by a everted ridged neck, the body and spout decorated with inlaid designs of flowering plants on a ground of wavy brass lines, with rows of foliate vines on the shoulder   

Catalogue Note

Bidri ware, extensively used all over India is a feature of the Deccan, in particular the city of Bihar hence the appellation Bidri ware. The earliest huqqa bases, as evidenced by miniatures, tend to be globular in shape, inlaid in two metals, silver and either brass or gold. This huqqa is a fine example of the early variety. 

This huqqa base is almost identical to the one in the Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, inv. no. 1985.164. Mark Zebrowski describes this huqqa base as sparkling "...with Deccani extravagance" (illustrated in Zebrowski 1997, pp. 231-32, no. 377). He mentions that the pattern of wavy brass lines were meant to represent the sea, as can be seen on Deccani textiles and manuscripts of the period (ibid.). Two fine trays with this design are in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, inv. no. M.89.19 and the Salar Jang Museum, Hyderabad, inv. no. 56.229.