The simple but elegant jug (surahi) with its wonderful patina is a real masterpiece of Indian silverware. The belly of the pot has simple wavy bands while the neck has three ribbed bands. The stand of the pot has a zigzag chased design. The lid which is attached by a hinge to the handle has a small waterpot decoration on top. The most attractive parts of the surahi are its handle and spout. They have been fashioned in the shape of dragons. Two thin rings of bone are fitted on the handle, one near the neck of the dragon and one on the tail. There are beautiful floral decorations where the handle and spout are joined to the pot.
The use of the dragon as a decorative motif indicates the East Asian influence which is found even in Tibetan and Nepali jugs and samovars. The dragon depicted on the handle has a small ball in its mouth, and perhaps represents the Buddhist symbol – the dragon who won the Pearl of Wisdom. This is a popular theme in Japanese decorative objects Interestingly, the Museum has a brass jug from Nepal with similar decoration, also in Sir Ratan Tata’s collection.
Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection.
Indian Decorative Art
18th Century CE
Height 29 cm