Skip to main content

Main Building

Teapot Adorned with Scenes of Rural Life

c. 1890-1900
Grish Chunder Dutt (Indian, active late 19th–early 20th century)

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), in the eastern Indian region of Bengal, long served as the British colonial capital. For most of the nineteenth century, silversmiths in Kolkata catered to British tastes, producing wares with simple lines and minimal embellishment. However, in the months leading up to the great Calcutta International Exhibition of 1883, a community of artisans pioneered a new type of luxury silverware covered with detailed depictions of rural scenes and festivals.

This design shift may have been driven by a desire to fashion a more distinctly recognizable mode of silverware for the global market. Ironically, these images were largely inspired by paintings and photographs produced by British travelers to the region, displaying an idealized view of village life that fused the pastoral with the exotic. In this teapot, an “exotic” cobra wraps around the handle above a body covered in peaceful rural scenes.

Object Details

We are always open to learning more about our collections and updating the website. Does this record contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.

Main Building