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11th Mar 2022
19th century Indian silver rose or punch bowl estimate 8000 12000 1

An extremely fine late 19th century Indian silver rose or punch bowl made by Oomersi Mawji & Sons is amongst the star lots in Keys Auctioneers and Valuers’ three day Fine Sale which runs from Wednesday 23rd March to Friday 25th March.

The bowl, which is 31 cm diameter at the top and 44cm wide, weighs in at 2.657kg, and comes complete with an ebonised socle and a purple velvet-lined travel case.

The silver bowl is chased and embossed with elaborate flowers and scroll work to a matt ground, with a polished shield-shaped cartouche on one side, engraved with a gryphon crest.  It also features raised details of animals and birds including wild boar, antelope, dogs and  elephants.

Oomersi Mawji was one of the most celebrated Indian silversmiths of all time.  The son of a cobbler, he was born in Gujarat and started his career specialising in leather engravings.  By the 1860s he was court silversmith to the Maharaos of Kutch and the Maharajas of Baroda, and with his sons, he was soon selling pieces overseas via branches of the business in Calcutta and Bombay.

The firm achieved worldwide fame after taking part in the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1878.  In London their work was sold by Liberty & Co amongst others.  Mawji died in 1890, and his sons continued the business until around 1930.

“This is a very fine piece of late 19th century silver by probably the most celebrated Indian silversmith we have ever seen,” said Nigel Ducker, silver expert at Keys. 

Keys’ three day Fine Sale takes place on Wednesday 23rd March, Thursday 24th March and Friday 25th March at their Aylsham, Norfolk salerooms, and online.  The Indian silver bowl will go under the hammer on the second day of the sale.  Full details at www.keysauctions.co.uk.