India's stolen treasures by the English company - 04

  The   following rare and unique  items looted by he English were mostly from the private collections, perhaps stolen from the owner's forefathers who worked in India particularly during the East India company rule. Because much of the looting took place prior o 1857 - before the start of the great rebellion by the Indian soldiers against the English company  and their  repressive and unjust rule.  Over a period of time, the English Auction companies put them up for  public auction  and these items fetched better price that the companies expected. 

01. Inkwell And Pen Case Or Davat-I-Dawla:

.Ornate pen set  late 16th

Above image: A dagger of an emperor, an ornate pen case and a 17th century necklace of the Nizam. These are among the 400 pieces of ancient Indian treasures and Mughal jewels set to go under the hammer in New York on June 19.  

It  was a tradition among the mogul ruler to give  jeweled pen case and inkwell  as gifts to eminent   This emerald, ruby and diamond-set pen case and inkwell has the engraving of a sacred swan or hamsa under the inkwell. It is dated back to the late 16th century and is said to have originated in the Deccan region.

The pen case was once  a symbol of power at court throughout the mediaeval Islamic period and Mogul dynasty continued the tradition.   Consequently they had left behind  detailed records  for the posterity. 

From the time of  ruler Babur to the repressive  reign of  mogul ruler Aurangzeb and  their courtiers,   highlighting their opulence was a way of life  and richly  decorated pen cases were  meant for scholars leading court officials, especially viziers and Chief Revenue Officer. One such was given by Jahangir to Asaf Khan, the official depicted in Lots 338 and 182, on his appointment as Mir Bakhshi (vizier) in 1608. A proud possession  such pen-cases were tucked into the waist sash, as depicted in various paintings. One of the best depictions is in the depiction of the submission of Rana Amar Singh of Mewar to Prince Khurram in the Chester-Beatty Library.  Here,  two courtiers are depicted with pen-cases in their waists. The bird on the underside of the inkwell is  hamsa meaning swan,   a mythical  bird  and the vahana of he Hindu goddess of wisdom  Sarasvati.  Certain elements in the artifact are  reminiscent of the large lion supports at the Vitthala temple at Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagara dynasty in Southern India.  This spectacular inkwell and the conch shell cover would have been created, a site that   shows the same fusion of Hindu and Muslim elements as are found here.


02. A gem-encrusted gold  Chess  set, S. India:

A gem-encrusted gold  Chess  set, S. India

Above image:  A gem-encrusted gold  Chess  set, S. India   1775-1825.  Thirty two pieces, set with rubies and emeralds, the base of each piece in plain gold with deciphered South Indian script.  Highest piece 1 7/8 ins. (4.7 cm.) high; smallest piece 7/8 in. (2.1 cm.) high ............

India was the first country to have introduced the game of Chess and since  16th century it has been played  here. This set  consists of items  representing opposite sides. The richly gem encrusted pieces  with rubies and emeralds represent the opulence of the ruling classes in India.   The gem-settings and the presence of an deciphered script on the base suggest their origin in South India. Their similarity to Telugu meant they could be from Hyderabad, now capital of  Telengana state.  The Nizams of  had matrimonial alliance with  Ottoman princess and   earlier gold Ottoman chess set from the sixteenth century in the Topkapi Sarayi Museum has similar shaped pieces    decorated with turquoise inlay and rubies.  


03. A gold -gem set and  enameled flywhisk handle:

gold -gem st and  enameled flywhisk handle

Above image:  A gold -gem set and  enameled flywhisk handle  with diamonds, emeralds and rubies on red-enameled ground, the finial set with a carved emerald.  The design and settings of this flywhisk relate it closely to the large gem set and enameled huqqa base in the same collection.  Particularly indicative is the use of stylized diamond-set cypress trees as dividing elements between fields containing floral sprays. 5/8 ins. (22 cm.) long


04. Antique emerald spinel pendent:

Antique emerald spinel pendent,

Above image:  Carved emerald, hexagonal-shaped table-cut spinel, foil, gold, drilled lug for suspension, 7/8 in., late 18th century.  The drilled lug on the emerald suggests that this pendant was originally part of a larger setting. Through the spinel, there is deterioration visible near the foil, perhaps indicating that a pigment was applied to enhance the stone's color.


05. The Diamond Turban Ornament Or Jigha:

Diamond Jigha.

Above image:  The Belle Époque diamond jigha  made in 1907 was remodeled around 1935. The ornament  set with old baguette and pear-shaped diamonds is  made of white gold with a plume holder on the reverse.  An interesting feature is the lower part that  is detachable can be worn as a brooch, according to the Christie’s website. The total weight of the diamonds in this turban ornament is approximately 152.60 carat.


​06. The Mirror Of Paradise Diamond:

Mirror of paradise diamond.

Above image:  The Mirror of Paradise a D-colour internally flawless diamond of 52.58 carats was mined in Kollur, now part of Andhrand it was part of the   Golconda region in South India.  Until the 1730s, India was active in diamond trade and was the largest   known  supplier of diamonds in the world. Now, all the diamond mines have become defunct.  Many of the world’s famous diamonds — the Koh-i-Noor, the Regent and the Hope diamonds were found in the Alluvial deposits of Krishna river  of the  the state of present day Andhra.  Deccan region.


​07. The Nizam Of Hyderabad Necklace:

Hyderabad (india) Nizam's necklace,

Above image:  The Nizam of Hyderabad necklace made of gold  with seven large foiled triangular diamonds, each framed in an openwork panel of kundan-set diamond leaves,  is a  beautiful ornament of the the late 19th century, according to Christie’s who put several Indian items for auction.  A distinctive feature is a triangular diamond pendant at the front center  surrounded by 12 diamond leaves, mounted on an inner edge with a melon-cut emerald bead.


08. The Patiala Ruby Choker:

Patiala Ruby Chokker Mharajah Bhupindra

Above image: This piece of jewelry is a magnificent example of the fusion between the East and the West. The necklace was commissioned by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala and created by Cartier in 1931. This ruby, pearl and diamond necklace is just one example of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh’s long relationship with the house of Cartier. It has 292 ruby beads weighing 356.56 carats, interspersed with panels of 132 threaded pearls, caught at each side with clasps of 120 diamonds and rubies set in platinum, each clasp formed of a cluster of six cabochon claw-set rubies. The necklace was restored and restrung by Cartier Tradition in 2012. It was worn by Rani Bakhtawar  Kaur Shahiba............


​09. The Dagger Of Shah Jahan, India:

.jade-hilted dagger of Shah Jahan.

Above image:  The ornate jade-hilted dagger was commissioned by Jahangir, the fourth Mughal Emperor of India, in the early 17th century. The carved youth’s head on the hilt is speculated to be based on an ivory representation of Jesus. Upon Jahangir’s death in 1627, the blade passed on to his son and successor, Shah Jahan, who reworked the blade and added two Mughal inscriptions to it — a royal umbrella and a fish. In the 1850s the dagger was also owned by Samuel FB Morse, the creator of the eponymous code and inventor of the telegraph, who was also an art collector. It was sold for $ 3.3 million way back in 2008 at  Bonham's auction in April. 

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