The taste for the exotic that characterized silver designs in the latter part of the nineteenth century extended to Indian motifs, fostered, in part, by the growing interest in the country that had become the jewel of the British empire. Displays of Indian silver at numerous international exhibitions, promotion by retail firms such as Liberty and Co., and silver souvenirs brought back from foreign postings raised an awareness of and an interest in Indian silver.
Silver from the Cutch region of North Western India was particularly sought after for its high quality of workmanship and superior silver content (between 95-98 pure silver). Cutch silverwork, which was eagerly promoted at international exhibitions, was imitated by other Indian silver centers and Western firms such as Elkington & Co. Although rarely marked, Cutch silver bears distinctive motifs such as infinite scrolling foliage, of which this pair of torah finials is an excellent example. These finials could have been produced for export, as Indian silver was exempt from English hallmarking practices post-1884, and the crown-form finials display English stylistic influence. It is also possible that they were commissioned for Jewish congregations in Bombay or Cochin, a community in South-East India whose synagogue was established in 1568 (see W. Wilkinson, Indian Silver 1858-1947: Silver from the Indian sub-continent and Burma made by local craftsmen in Western forms, 1999).