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    Sale 7571

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    8 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 301

    A FINE MUGHAL IVORY HOWDAH

    NORTH INDIA PROBABLY LUCKNOW OR MURSHIDABAD, CIRCA 1800

    Price Realised  

    A FINE MUGHAL IVORY HOWDAH
    NORTH INDIA PROBABLY LUCKNOW OR MURSHIDABAD, CIRCA 1800
    With two compartments of raffia flooring and velvet padded sides with silver lip, the sides with balustrade panels within a stylised flowering vine frame with flowerheads, large fish being attacked by birds forming the cresting, on silver lions'-paw feet, slight damages
    55 x 35 x 24in. (140 x 89 x 61cm.)


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    The British influence in the design of this howdah is very clearly visible, as in the balustrade running around the sides. This is typical of armchairs made in Murshidabad dating from the beginning of the 19th century (Jaffer, Amin: Furniture from British India and Ceylon, London, 2001, nos. 87 and 88, pp.257-261). The bands of floral meander are also comparable to work from the same city, but here there is more of a naturalistic, more Indian feel than the very Georgian floral meander designs of the chairs noted above. The very pronounced fish however on the cresting are particularly typical of Lucknow, appearing in various designs in other media as well as furniture (Jaffer, op.cit, p.122 for example). The silver claw feet are also very close indeed to those on a chair made in Lucknow in 1820 (Amin, op.cit, no.123, p.304). One wonders whether there is a particular symbolism in the carving on this howdah with the fish, possibly representing Lucknow, about to be swallowed by a mythical bird!

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    Provenance

    Anon sale, Christie's London, 13 October 1982