A Kangxi blue and white porcelain huqqa base for the Indian market, China, 1662-1722. Photo Sotheby's
of squat bulbous form with a narrow neck with a broad horizontal flange and swollen neck, the underglaze decoration composed of six bracketed cartouches each enclosing a flowering stem, the shoulder with a frieze of stylised floral motifs within a collar of serrated leaves, the flange with a further series of leaves, the neck with a register alternately of blossoming and unopened flowers, the mouth and flange edge in brown; 18.2cm. height. Estimate 30,000—40,000 GBP. Lot Sold 253,250 GBP
NOTE: The Chinese response to the demand in India for huqqa bases of this form was quick and possibly influential. The form had only appeared in India in the seventeenth century. There are later examples in glass, often with gilded decoration but, most famously and more numerously, are those made in bidriware, a corpus of works made from zinc alloy usually inlaid with silver taking the name from its association with the town of Bidar in the Deccan (Zebrowski 1997, pp.224-236).
Mark Zebrowski, in his discussion of the decoration of the bidriware pieces mentions a discernible Chinese influence in the designs used and, from this, it is tempting to imagine that the relation between the imitated Indian works and their Chinese imitators was possibly more symbiotic than linear (ibid., p.232).
Sotheby's. Arts of The Islamic World, 06 Apr 11, London www.sothebys.com