Teapot

ARTIST / MAKER: Unknown
DATE: 19th century (made)
PLACE: India (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Repoussé and cast silver
COLLECTION NUMBER: 1115

This teapot is decorated with repoussé chasing in an intricate foliate pattern, typical of Kutch silver designs, although this example was likely produced in Bombay, a cultural centre that attracted silversmiths from all over India. With employment by large jewellery firms, these silversmiths brought their own regional styles of ornament to the craft. As a result, a range of hybrid styles that incorporated typical Kutch, Swami, or Lucknow forms of adornment can be seen in Bombay silverware.

The technique used by Kutch silversmiths for chasing was unique to the area. The piece was filled with molten wax and resin which, once hardened, absorbed the shock of the silversmith’s hammer and chisel. The design was punched into the metal using blunt-edged, nail-like tools. The wax was released by warming it again, and the process was repeated several times. Kutch silver was a higher grade of purity than the sterling standard, which made it softer and easier to create detailed work.