The craft of metalwork in India gave splendid form to many functional and decorative objects, drawing inspiration from a rich heritage within India as well as the larger Islamic world. This exhibition includes approximately twenty-five examples of gold, silver, bronze, copper, and other metals fashioned into vessels, objects of daily and ceremonial use, and sculptural forms. These objects, dating primarily from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and representing both Mughal and Deccan metalwork traditions, reveal a rich variety of technical and decorative effects.
Among the highlights of the exhibition are a monumental metal fountain of the late seventeenth century, a rare Mughal vase with superb tracery work, fine examples of the celebrated bidri inlay tradition of the Deccan, and a richly embellished writing box, presented for the first time following its recent restoration. These and other objects reveal varied technical and decorative effects—such as casting, etching, chasing, inlay, and hammered relief—and were often ornamented with finely formed inscriptions and surface decoration.
This exhibition complements "Treasury of the World": Jeweled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals (on view October 18, 2001–January 13, 2002).