A GOLD HUQQA BASE, NORTH INDIA, PROBABLY KUTCH, DATED 3 BHADRA 94/AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1751 OR 1851 AD
of typical form, raised from sheet gold, hammered in relief and chased, with stylised palmettes, lotus blossoms and birds, the underside pricked in Devanagari script with date and weight
18.6cm. max. diam.
In general good condition, a dent to the base and slight dent to mouthpiece recently restored by Plowden & Smith, very slight scratches as consistent with age and use, as viewed.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Top line: Tole 173. This corresponds to 1730 grams = 3.8lbs.
'3 Bhadra 94' - In the Vikrama Samvat, the month of Bhadra falls between August and
September, this could possibly be interpreted as 1751 or 1851.
This bell-shaped gold huqqa base is one of the four component parts of a huqqa and most likely originates from Kutch, a district of the Gujarat state of Western India. Water pipes emerged during the Safavid dynasty, and tobacco was first brought to India in 1604 through the Portuguese and the Mughal ambassador Asad Beg, on a visit to the court of Bijapur, although the earliest forms resembling huqqas appeared as early as the ninth and tenth centuries.
In India, the huqqa was considered an object of high status, and by the end of the seventeenth century, it was a recurring motif in the court portraiture of the Rajputs, Mughals and the Paharis. Mughal Emperors would be painted smoking a huqqa, as can be seen in a painting of Raja Indra Dev (r. circa 1730-60) sold in these rooms, 24 October 2017, lot 111. This piece is comparable to a huqqa base in the al-Sabah collection, dated to the late sixteenth/early seventeenth century (Keene 2001, p.45, no.3.2).