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Teapot Adorned with Scenes of Rural Life

Grish Chunder Dutt, Indian, active late 19th - early 20th century

Made in Bhowanipore, Calcutta (present-day Kolkata), West Bengal, Bengal Region, India, Asia

c. 1890-1900

Silver with repousse work and ivory

7 1/2 x 10 x 6 3/4 inches (19.1 x 25.4 x 17.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

* Gallery 229, Asian Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Joan K. Short, 2007

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Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), in the eastern Indian region of Bengal, long served as the British colonial capital. For most of the nineteenth century, silversmiths in Kolkata catered to British tastes, producing wares with simple lines and minimal embellishment. However, in the months leading up to the great Calcutta International Exhibition of 1883, a community of artisans pioneered a new type of luxury silverware covered with detailed depictions of rural scenes and festivals.

This design shift may have been driven by a desire to fashion a more distinctly recognizable mode of silverware for the global market. Ironically, these images were largely inspired by paintings and photographs produced by British travelers to the region, displaying an idealized view of village life that fused the pastoral with the exotic. In this teapot, an “exotic” cobra wraps around the handle above a body covered in peaceful rural scenes.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.

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