Ref 35977
 
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Silver
c.1900

Width: 20 cm (Teapot)
Total Weight: 774 g

Madras, located in south eastern India, was one of the most significant cities in India under the British administration. The finest pieces of Madras silver were produced by Indian craftsmen working for European-run firms, unlike the silver produced in other regions of India which was crafted by independent craftsmen. The largest European firm was P. Orr & Sons of Madras; they were responsible for the encouragement of the 'swami' style of decoration. 'Swami'ornamentation depicts Hindu deities and mythological figures, and the style was a huge success in Europe and Great Britain. Despite European market trends, the silversmiths of Madras established a strong indigenous style which concentrated on the traditional illustration of their gods.

Swami designs were deep, and exhibited fine and intricate detailing, which enabled the specific figures to be easily identifiable. The Hindu tradition of religious art comprises the images of deities, illustrations of characters and episodes from epics like the Ramayana. The stories of the ten avatars of Vishnu are some of the most popular depictions in the silverware from this region.

The most frequent deities represented in Madras silverware are Vishnu, Shiva, Parvati, Brahma and Surya. Also depicted are Angi, Brahma, Durga, Ganesh, Indra, Kali, Kama, Parvati, Shiva, Vishnu, and Yama; most of the gods are riding their vahana, or their associated animal, in these depictions.

One of the most prominent of Bangalore's silverware makers is C. Krishna Chetty, a firm that was founded in 1869. Chetty's silverwork was exhibited both in Delhi in 1903 and Lahore in 1909. C. Krishna Chetty became very adept and widely known for their versions of the "Calcutta Bhowanipore" and "Bengal rural" styles. Apart from Barton & Sons, C. Krishna Chetty was the leading maker of silver objects in Bangalore.




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