Bell-Shaped Glass Huqqa Base
This glass huqqa base features an elegant decorative repertoire achieved by wheel-cutting and painting in gilt. The principle motifs comprise six, evenly spaced floral arrangements sprouting from vases, each set within the architectural framework of six columns and arches. A wide band containing vegetal motifs and an undulating line marks the base of this object, and repeats in slightly smaller scale below the base of the neck. The neck bears a protruding folded ring about half way up, above which six singular flowers surround the upper section. Traces of red pigment appear around the base of the neck, and the top holds a thin silver band. The base of the object is flat and shows the pontil mark, suggesting the object was blown freehand.
Bell-shaped huqqa bases first appeared in India in the 1730s-40s, gradually becoming more common than the earlier spherical versions that required an additional ring base upon which to stand. Their decorative schemes are typically in keeping with those found on bidri wares, a type of blackened inlaid metalwork from Bidar in southern India where huqqa bases were also produced. For further examples of glass, bell-shaped huqqa bases, see Carboni, p. 380 (Cat. Nos. 104c-e), and Dye, p. 435 (Cat. Nos. 208-9).
Literature: Carboni, S. Glass from Islamic Lands, Thames and Hudson, London, 2001.
Dye, J. M. III. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Philip Wilson Publishers, London, 2001.