Silver Indian Teaset with Tray, Shamji Mukonji
A three-piece silver teaset together with an engraved tray by Shamji Mukonji with SM marks punched onto the handle of the tray and also on base of the teapot, sugar bowl and milk jug. The two-handled oval tray with scrolling foliage, pierced border and commemorative engraving in the centre: NIRA 1880 Viceroy’s Prize Won BY Captn C.S. Bailey XI Regt. The teapot, sugar bowl and milk jug all represented with animals within hunting scenes; a design often portrayed on Cutch silverwork. According to Wilkinson, the foundations of Cutch remains tentative although some 19th century writers likened the elaborate style to the tracery of the stone window designs on the 15th century mosque in Ahmedabad, Gujerat. The Cutch style was first seen from the beginning of the 19th century and further developed with the additional influences of Dutch and Portuguese decorations on silverware. Wilkinson notes that Cutch wares were the most sought after of all Indian silverwork in the last half of the 19th century – both within India and overseas (Wilkinson, Indian Silver, London, Wynyard R T Wilkinson, 1999, p. 66-67).