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Fashioning a National ArtBaroda's Royal Collection and Art Institutions (1875-1924)$

Priya Maholay-Jaradi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199466849

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199466849.001.0001

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(p.265) Appendix IV

(p.265) Appendix IV

Baroda Genres and Craftsmen as Documented in George Watt’s Catalogue of the Delhi Durbar Exhibition of 1902–3*

Fashioning a National Art

Priya Maholay-Jaradi

Oxford University Press

As compared to George Birdwood’s (1880) documentation of the industrial arts in Appendix IV, note the expansion in the numbers of genres and craftsmen identified from Baroda in George Watt’s (1904) documentation.

Baroda Specimens at Exhibition

  1. 1. The Bombay School of Art displayed wrought-iron gates, windows, and so on, designs for which were procured from a series of wrought-iron balustrades from Baroda (Watt 1904: 14).

    1. a. Second prize with bronze medal for iron grills from Baroda procured through the chief engineer.

  2. 2. Silver and copper repousse work of Baroda found mention as ‘Peculiar Repousse’ for its unique characteristics. ‘The article is first made in wood richly carved, then silver or copper plates are held over the surface and hammered until they assume the pattern given to the wood’ (Watt 1904: 34).

  3. 3. Once again, this medium finds mention in the discussion of the Bombay section. ‘In the Presidency of Bombay there are several centres (p.266) noted for copper and brass manufacture. Those of greatest repute, from an art point of view, are Poona, Bombay and Baroda …’ (Watt 1904: 58)

    1. a. ‘In Baroda, repousse brass is largely produced by hammering thin plates of brass on to carved wood-work and fixing the plates permanently over the wood’ (Watt 1904: 58).

    2. b. Award for silver repousse stool on shisham wood by Mistry Raghunath Tribhuvan & Sons of Visnagar. Price: rupees 302 (Watt 1904: 34).

    3. c. Commended for stool in wood coating with brass repoussed on the wood (no. 1589), rupees 50, made by Mistry Raghunath Tribhuvan & Sons, Baroda (Watt 1904: 62).

  4. 4. The moulded and chased work in silver and copper also finds special mention. This medium is used to produce ‘massive anklets’ (Watt 1904: 34).

  5. 5. Commended silver anklet (maize pattern), made at Dabhoi in Baroda (no. 1501), rupees 85.

  6. 6. Copper anklets, too, are highlighted as significant craftworks from Baroda.

    1. a. Hurgovind Hira of Dabhoi’s massive copper kalla (anklet), chrysanthemum pattern is commended (no. 1078), rupees 10 (Watt 1904: 58, 61).

  7. 7. Unglazed or terracotta ware of Patan and Baroda, is acknowledged (Watt 1904: 84, 85).

  8. 8. ‘Baroda has sent a few unimportant examples of sandal-wood such as glove-boxes and the like, by Hurgovind Hira Dabhoi’ (Watt 1904: 152).

  9. 9. Ahmedabad, Baroda, Bombay, and Surat are acknowledged as sadeli work centres. Sadeli boxes are explained as carved wood boxes that are part of the wide-ranging genre of ‘Bombay-boxes’, which included ivory and sandal in addition to wood (Watt 1904: 156).

  10. 10. Turnery and carving of Poona, Kanara, Surat, Baroda, Karachi, Halla, and so on (Watt 1904: 184).

  11. 11. Buffalo horn used to produce the famous Baroda spoons in addition to Rajkote combs, Kathiawar knife handles, and Surat and Ahmedabad boxes (Watt 1904: 195).

  12. (p.267) 12. ‘Baroda sometimes, however, attempts articles of a higher character, such as the chameleon with scorpion in its mouth, made by Jagjivan Narbheram, carpenter of Nandod, Rajpipla, price: rupees 10’ (Plate no. 43_A, figure 4) (Watt 1904: 195).

  13. 13. Rhinoceros-hide shields, boxes, and the like produced at Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, and Katch (no. 43 B, Figure 7). ‘The designs most generally used are panels showing intricate and elaborate carving after the windows of the Said Sibi Mosque, with dividing and elevated gilded lines between the panels, or the designs are bold floral scrolls derived most probably from the rose and run round the shield as a broad border pattern without any dividing lines’ (Watt 1904: 204).

  14. 14. Baroda lac turnery is appreciated for its technique (Watt 1904:. 217–8). The lac-turned objects are ornamented with tinfoil underneath the varnish (by colouring the varnish yellow, the tinfoil appears as if in gold shades). ‘Sankheda’ does not find mention as a centre of lac-turned objects. The child’s swinging cot is documented as an exemplary work in this genre (no. 1526, rupees 62) (Watt 1904: 218).

  15. 15. Commended for a lacquered cradle: Itcharam Premji of Baroda (Watt 1904: 218).

  16. 16. Calico printing in Bombay Presidency at Ahmedabad, Bombay town, Surat, Broach, and Baroda.

    1. a. Baroda and Kaira are especially appreciated for their blue-black or dark green colour schemes, ‘the design being mostly minute specks and the borders and end-pieced glaringly distinct, such as stripes in canary yellow, with green and red in alternating bands and similarly coloured rosettes or medallions in the middle of the field’ (Watt 1904: 251). Watt (1904: 251) refers to the example of the Baroda sari from Indian Art Journal, Volume I (1886).

  17. 17. ‘A sari in the Loan Collection Gallery, sent by His Highness the Maharaja (Gaekwar) of Baroda will be seen to have a patola centre and rich gold borders and end-pieces. The colours are soft yet full and effective’ (Watt 1904: 257). H.H.’s loans in the Loan Collection Gallery are considered significant and of historic interest since they were worn by the maharanis mostly for their wedding ceremonies (Watt 1904: 332).

    1. (p.268) a. All the same contemporary patolas in the sales section are also praised. Rama Chand Mul Chand’s patolas from Patan are ‘commended’ by the exhibition judges (Watt 1904: 257, 337).

    2. b. Technique of production of patola (Gupte referred to in Watt 1904: 257).

    3. c. ‘In the Pattan form there is no diaper, the pattern is laid sideways (i.e., facing the sides not the ends of the sari) and the border stripes are carried within the field and portray a series of elephants, flowering shrubs, human figures, and birds, repeated in that sequence and so placed that the feet are inwards or towards the centre of the sari, not outwards as is customary with border patterns. The field colour in the Pattan sari is dark blue-green with the patterns in red, white, and yellow’ (Watt 1904: 258).

  18. 18. From the collection of gold brocades exhibited by the maharaja of Baroda, the following may be specially commended: no. 1055, a shallu gold auze sari in asvali pattern (Watt 1904: 330).

  19. 19. Silks by the maharaja of Baroda (Watt 1904: 484).

  20. 20. Powder flasks made from horn and inlay work (Watt 1904: 482).

  21. 21. Baroda’s Pearl Carpet.

  22. 22. ‘Perhaps if any one article could be singled out as more freely discussed at the Exhibition than any other, it would be the Pearl Carpet of Baroda’ (Watt 1904: 444).

  23. 23. Large collection of silver sent by the Gaekwad to the exhibition. However, Watt notes that it has a striking similarity to works from Tanjore or Madura or the Poona repousse work and Trichinopoly silver.

  24. 24. Silver filigree model of the state elephant with gold gilt howdah (Baroda Museum).

Other Provinces of Gujarat


  1. 1. Enamel work of Bhuj.

  2. 2. Prizes for silver work by Soni Oomersi Mawji of Bhuj and Soni Mawji Raghavji of Bhuj (Watt 1904: 41).


  1. (p.269) 1. Copper boxes (Watt 1904: 58).

  2. 2. Wood carvers of Mangrol produce black wood as in Ahmedabad.


  1. 1. Large and selected assortment of goods such as cabinets, gloveboxes, and the like. (Watt 1904: 152).

Objects that Enjoy a General ‘Gujarat’ Attribution

  1. 1. Tray by Fazal Ahmad for rupees 131 (provenance not identified) (Watt 1904: 45).

  2. 2. Third prize with bronze medal for surahi in dewali and koft and a shield made by Muhamad Azim of Gujarat (provenance unidentified).

  3. 3. In Bombay and some towns of Gujarat tortoise shell is used to make ornaments, card cases, and the like. Regarded as unimportant trade (Watt 1904: 194).

  4. 4. Likewise combs, buttons, walking sticks, and the like from buffalo horn (Watt 1904: 194).


(*) Source: George Watt. 1904. Indian Art at Delhi, 1903: Being the Official Catalogue of the Delhi Exhibition 1902–1903. London: John Murray.