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Indo-Portuguese Silver Chalice
height: 21.1cm, diameter of foot: 11.1cm, weight: 303g
This fine communion chalice is of solid silver with a gilded (gold-plated) interior. The circular, domed base is chased with a prominent row of acanthus leaves.
The base of the stem is engraved with a fine lotus-petal border.
The baluster-form stem includes a knob chased with more acanthus leaves and another chased with another fine lotus petal motif border.
The inverted bell-shaped cup into which the actual cup screw into is engraved with a prominent border of acanthus leaves.
The cup itself has an everted rim and an interior that is gilded.
The cup is later. Such chalices were made in two parts with the drinking cup screwing into the base, to allow the chalice to be dismantled for ease of travel.
The styling of the silver and the lotus-like motifs used suggests an Indo-Portuguese provenance. China is another possibility. There has long been a
significant local Christian population in Tianjin for example, and the Jesuits had an early presence in the city. (Data from 1950 recorded a local Catholic
population of approximately 50,000.)
The chalice has a fine patina and ample evidence of age. There are indistinct maker's or owner's marks stamped near the upper rim of the base. It is in
Levenson. J. (ed), Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 2007.
Provenance: UK art market
Inventory no.: 3660
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