The bell-shaped hookah base is made of gilded silver with elegant floral and avian designs in translucent blue, green, and aubergine enamel. Beneath the slightly flaring mouth is an arcade with six cartouches, each containing an identical poppy (Papaver somniferum). The vessel’s shoulder and splayed foot are each decorated with a meandering iris scroll. The vessel body has six cartouches, each with an identical hybrid flowering plant with a central blossom inspired by a dianthus or carnation. It is flanked by poppies, lilies, and lotuses or tulips growing unrealistically from the same two stalks. A small bud in translucent aubergine accentuates the vertical axis, and this same color is used, occasionally and inconsistently, to highlight small areas of the flora and fauna decoration in the spandrels. The poppy plants emerge from a translucent green footed vase that has a prominent ring molding with vertical ribs. A maker’s mark of a stork is engraved on the silver base plate. Such pictographic maker’s marks found on some Lucknow metalworks are presumably part of a broader nonliterate artist/craftsperson identification system. Regrettably, however, they cannot yet be correlated to individual artists or workshops. Lucknow hookahs made of silver or gilded silver with translucent enameling often feature complex decorative programs, including lush landscapes teeming with wildlife and architectural vignettes, abundant flora and fauna, and intricate geometric patterns.More...
- Markel, Stephen. Mughal and Early Modern Metalware from South Asia at LACMA: An Online Scholarly Catalogue. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2020. https://archive.org/details/mughal-metalware (accessed September 7, 2021).
- Desjardins, Tara. "Patna, Lucknow, and the Curious Crest of John Deane: An Investigation of Two Indian Glass Centers and a Colonial Drinking Set." Journal of Glass Studies 63 (2021): 247-67.
- Markel, Stephen & Gude, Tushara Bundu. India's Fabled City. The Art of Courtly Lucknow. Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Del Monico Books- Prestel. Los Angeles, CA. 2010..