Mughal Tabletop Related to V&A;Example

March 19 2009, 3:05pm

In our upcoming gallery exhibition, “ON TOPS,” we display a number of purpose-made pieces, where table bases of later construction were made specifically to suit their special tops. Tabletop Inset with Parchin Kari Panels     One such center table to be exhibited comprises a specially constructed base (circa 1840) designed in the manner of English architect Richard Bridgens, and a top made from two 17th-century parchin kari panels. Parchin Kari is the Mughal word for pietre dure (or “hardstones”). The most famous building to feature this technique is the Taj Mahal, the finest example of Mughal architecture.       Frieze Panel in the Victoria and Albert Museum We have recently been made aware of a strikingly similar parchin kari frieze panel currently in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Probably made in Agra, it dates from circa 1640 and contains a variety of semi-precious stones. Both the Carlton Hobbs tabletop and the V&A panel share strongly related strapwork and floral designs and a border of yellow and black inlaid lines surrounding them.   We are pleased to find that our tabletop belongs to a wonderful group of panels with such a distinct motif!