The beautiful tray was also made in the Bombay workshop of Mr. Gill. It too has the workshop mark in Devanagari on the reverse.The tray must have been produced as a souvenir. Europeans were fond of such articles, and their interest in Indian architecture made the silversmiths copy the designs on various monuments in their works. This particular tray depicts the jali window of Sidi Sayyid Mosque in Ahmedabad (approximate date 1510–15 ce). Sidi Sayyid was a slave of Ahmad Shah (r. 1422–36 ce), who rose to wealth and power.
The sanctuary of the mosque has walls composed largely of perforated stone screens for light and ventilation. Such screens were common in Gujarat architecture. However, in the Sidi Sayyid Mosque, the artist showed exceptional vision and treated these jalis as a canvas creating beautiful ornamental forms. One of the subjects thus presented is the “Palm and Parasite” motif, a common and natural phenomenon in Indian plant life. The present tray depicts the same motif. It is an exact reproduction of one of these screens in the back wall of the mosque. The artist has copied not only the ornamental motif but even the stone structure around the window. The tray has a creeper design along the borders. Four solid balls of silver are attached below, on which the tray stands. The tray was made using the cast metal technique.
It is interesting to note that the same jail of the mosque was reproduced in wood and exhibited in the Indian Art Exhibition at Delhi in 1903.
Sir D.J.Tata Collection
Indian Decorative Art
Early 20th Century CE
52.5 x 43.5 cm