Posted on: 16 November 2013

Wine cup of Jahangir
Nephrite jade, Mughal, dated 1022 AH/1613-14 AD.

This wine cup of dark green nephrite jade was owned by the Mughal emperor Jahangir (r.1605-1627), whose name is included in the Persian verses incised in nasta'liq script round the rim and filled at a later date with white composition. The verses may be translated "Through the World-Conquering Shah, the world found order/ Our time became filled with light by the radiance of his justice/From the reflection of his spinel-coloured wine may/The jade cup be for ever like a ruby". The verses are interrupted by two quatrefoils containing the date according to the Muslim era (1022) and the emperor's regnal year (8) which together show that the cup was inscribed between 21 February and 6 August 1613. The quatrain includes a verse known to have been written by Sa'ida-ye Gilani, the head of the royal goldsmiths' department during the reign of Jahangir, who was also a master calligrapher who specialised in inscribing jade and precious stones. The writing on the cup also compares closely with that on a spinel known to have been calligraphed by Sa'ida, thus making it almost certain that he was the maker of the cup, as demonstrated by A.S. Melikian-Chirvani in "Sa'ida-ye Gilani and the Iranian Style Jades of Hindustan", Bulletin of the Asia Institute, New Series/Volume 13, 1999, [2002], pp. 83-140.

Marks and inscriptions:

Az shah-e Jahangir, jahan yaft-e nezam [sana 1022]/......../az aks-e sharab-e la;l rangesh bada/yaqut-asa piyale-ye [sana 8] yashm-e modam.

Through the World-Conquering Shah, the world found order/ our time became filled with light by the radiance of his justice/ From the reflection of his spinel-coloured wine may/The jade cup be for ever like a ruby.

Copyright: © V&A Images

 View Post on Facebook

Comments from Facebook

Extract from the book: Memoirs of the Emperor Jahangueir Written by Himself Translated from a Persian Manuscript By Major David Price Sold by J.Murray, London - 1829 "...I instituted twelve special regulations, to be applied by the different functionaries of the empire as rules of conduct, never to be deviated from in their respective stations. 5. No person was permitted either to make or sell either wine or any other kind of intoxicating liquor. I undertook to institute this regulation, although it is sufficiently notorious that I have myself the strongest inclination for wine, in which from the age of sixteen I have liberally indulged. And in very truth, encompassed as I was with youthful associates of congenial minds, breathing the air of a delicious climate—ranging through lofty and splendid saloons, every part of which decorated with all the graces of painting and sculpture, and the floors bespread with the richest carpets of silk and gold, would it not have been a species of folly to have rejected the aid of an exhilarating cordial— and what cordial can surpass the juice of the grape? May it not happen that theriauk, or opiates, or stimulants, have been rendered habitual to the constitution and heaven forbid that this should deprive a man of the most generous feelings of his nature. With some acknowledged beneficial effects, it must however be confessed, that these indulgences to excess must expose a man's infirmities, prostrate his constitutional vigour, and awaken false desires, such being the most injurious properties belonging to the list of stimulants. At the same time, we cannot but remember that kelourica is brother's son to theriauk. For myself, I cannot but acknowledge that such was the excess to which I had carried my indulgence, that my usual daily allowance extended to twenty, and sometimes to more than twenty cups, each cup containing half a seir (about six ounces), and eight cups being equal to a maunn of Irak.* So far, indeed, was this baneful propensity carried, that if I were but an hour without my beverage, my hands began to shake and I was unable to sit at rest. Convinced by these symptoms, that if the habit gained upon me in this proportion my situation must soon become one of the utmost peril, I felt it full time to devise some expedient to abate the evil : and in six months I accordingly succeeded in reducing my quantity gradually from twenty to five cups a day. At entertainments I continued, however, to indulge in a cup or two more : and on most occasions I made it a rule never to commence my indulgence until about two hours before the close of the day. But now that the affairs of the empire demand my utmost vigilance and attention, my potations do not commence until after the hour of evening prayer, my quantity never exceeding five cups on any occasion ; neither would more than that quantity suit the state of my stomach. Once a day I take my regular meal, and once a day seems quite sufficient to assuage my appetite for wine ; but as drink seems not less necessary than meat for the sustenance of man, it appears very difficult, if not impossible, for me to discontinue altogether the use of wine. Nevertheless, I bear in mind, and I trust in heaven that, like my grandfather Homayun, who succeeded in divesting himself of the habit before he attained to the age of forty-five, I also may be supported in my resolution, some time or other to abandon the pernicious practice altogether. " In a point wherein God has pronounced his sure displeasure, let the creature exert himself ever so little towards amendment, and it may prove, in no small degree, the means of eternal salvation."

Awesome. Good work.

Incredible honesty.....

Including the delicacy of the work on the handle of the cup. It is all in the details

Fascinating. Thanks for posting !

Interesting !! Its something indeed, for a ruler to not only exhort his people not to indulge in wine, but to be so honest about his own addiction, right down to the quantity consumed and how he made a conscious effort to work on thst !!!

The cup looks hardly the size that could hold 6 ounces (half seir) of wine? Could be a ceremonial cup not for daily use because he says he drank 20 of those every day! Will be interesting to see if there are any wine stains on the rim, especially the lettering of the verse which is white.