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Kangxi Blue & White Hookah Base with Chased Silver Mounts
China for the Islamic Indian or Persian Market
late 17th-early 18th century

height: 22.5cm, diameter: 15.5cm, weight: 1,458g

This superb porcelain hookah base was made in China for the Islamic export market, most probably for northern India or Persia (Iran).  It dates to the Kangxi
dynasty of the 17th-18th centuries.

It comprises a spherical base decorated in underglaze blue and cream with scrolling lotus designs.

The neck is encased with silver mounts chased with floral and other motifs. The silver is likely to date to the 17th or 18th centuries as well, and most probably
are northern Indian. The silver collar was designed to fit on the remainder of the hookah - the pipes, the charcoal holder, and so on. (The silver does have
what appears to be an indistinct eastern, perhaps a Persian, assay mark.)

The form of this hookah base derives from 17th century Indian prototypes which were made from a variety of different materials including metal, terracotta,
glass and precious stones. Zebrowski (1997) suggests that spherical hookah bases are more associated with 17th century India, whereas those that are
bell-shaped came later, and are more associated with the 18th and 19th centuries.

A related hookah base with silver mounts was offered as lot 200 at Sotheby's London in their 'Arts of the Islamic World', April 24, 2013 - see
here.

A related hookah base in polychrome enamels and without any silver fittings is in the British Museum - see
here. A similar hookah base in the Riesco
Collection was included in the OCS exhibition, 'Chinese Blue and White Porcelain, 14th to 19th Centuries', London, 1953-1954, no. 258 (incorrectly illustrated
as no. 259, pl. 16d).

A blue and white example but without any mounts is in the David Collection (see Folsach, 2001, p. 179).

And two related examples were offered at Sotheby's London in their 'Arts of the Islamic World' sale of April 25, 2012 (see
here) and April 6, 2011 (see here).

The example here is in excellent condition. There are no repairs, cracks or chips. With magnification, the surface of the porcelain has myriad light scratching
and wear consistent with age and use.

References:
Folsach, K., von, Art from the World of Islam: in the David Collection, 2001.
Greensted, M., & P. Hardie,
Chinese Ceramics: The Indian Connection, City of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, 1982.
Zebrowski, M.,
Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India, Alexandria Press, 1997.

Provenance: UK art market

Inventory no.: 3852

This Item is available - Ask about this item
This example, attributed to 17th century China, is on display in the Islamic Arts Museum
of Malaysia,. (Photographed February 2017).