Saucer, 1 in. h x 5 3/8 in. diam. (2.54 x 13.65 cm)
Cup 2 5/8 in. h x 4 in. l x 3 ¼ in. diam. (6.7 cm tall x 10.16 long x 8.25 diam)
Set Weight: 9 oz. (255 grams)
This exquisite silver piece can only lead one to try to imagine it’s romantic history. The two pieces are a matched teacup and saucer, by the renowned Kutch silversmith Oomersi Mawji, and bearing his stylized coriander-leaves-and-flowers motif. Each piece is inscribed “E.B. Lover,” the cup on its side, emblazoned on a ribbon; the saucer around its center, where the cup would rest.
But Oomersi Mawji, who certainly made many teapots, knew well that a hot liquid in a silver cup would render the cup handle impossible to be held in one’s fingers. It appears then that the teacup and saucer was perhaps never intended for holding tea, but that the form was rather only fanciful, perhaps meant to hold a small bouquet of flowers on a breakfast tray, or to convey some particular allusion. And what of the inscription, “E. B. Lover”? Is it simply the name of someone it was presented to as a gift? Or does “lover “ signify something else altogether? Time has its secrets.
Harish K. Patel
Harish K. Patel has been collecting Indian classical art for more than twenty years. His silver collection from India dates from the Raj Period, some of it made by local Indian silversmiths, some by British Colonials. The collection includes the work of Orr and Hamilton, as well as Oomersi Mawji, Dass & Dutt, and others, in the regions of Kutch, Chennai, Lucknow, Kolkata, Kashmir, and Rajasthan.