Early 18th century34 x 24 cms
This handsome oval shaped hammered tray has an openwork curved raised border.
The border forms a foliate frieze within the scalloped openwork.
Within the border, there is a repeat of the foliate scrolling frieze, albeit smaller & inward facing, which forms the outer edge of the flat tray of hammered silver. The main motif is scrolling vines, which form biaxial symmetrical heart-shaped patterns containing floral sprays. The central symmetrical four-leaf pattern gives the shape to the intricate flowering plants motif.
According to Zebrowski, there are only two other Mughal silver hammered trays with open work borders. Stylistically, these together with our tray belong to the period between 17th& 18th century from the Deccan. As Zebrowski considered the Deccan to be artistically part of the Mughal sphere these objects, though from the Deccan, are referred to as Mughal. The two other known Mughal examples see Zebrowski. page 42. These trays have traces of gilding.
Our tray relates very closely to the Fig 23 (Silver huqqa, Deccan, Late 17th century, Bellak collection, Philadelphia, in Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India). The foliate decoration and the “punch” marks on the flower heads suggest that these pieces were made in the same Deccani workshop.
We can see in several Deccani paintings from the end of 17th to the first quarter of 18th centuries similar patterns that recall the cartouche found on the tray (See Deccani Painting, Mark Zebrowski, pp151 & 231, cartouche motif at foot of throne in “Sultans of the Adil Shahi Dynasty” at the Met, Bijapur c. 1680 ; & plate 200 cartouche shaped fountain in “Dhanasi Ragini”, Bidar (?) 1st quarter of 18th century at the William Rockhill Nelson gallery of art, Kansas city, Missouri.
Provenance; Perhaps the Sotheby’s sale held in the 1960’s of items from the collection of His Serene Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad & thence in the London trade.