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Jade terrapin
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This life-sized terrapin is carved from a single piece of jade and was found in Allahabad, India. It was probably made to be an ornament for the garden of a Mughal palace.

The Mughals were great collectors and sponsors of the arts. Members of the royal family were often taught the arts of painting, seal engraving, jewellery-making and goldsmithing as well as those of warfare and politics. The interests of the emperors and their training in the arts led them to collect, commission and sometime even design fine examples of both Mughal and foreign artistic skill.

The turtle was found in Allahabad, home to Selim, son of the Mughal emperor Akbar (reigned 1556-1605), later the emperor Jahangir. Selim is known to have patronized jade carvers and was greatly interested in the natural world. The carving of this terrapin is extremely life-like, with particular attention to detail, even on the underside.

Jade terrapin

From Allahabad, India, XVII century AD.
Ht 20 cm.
Bequeathed by Lt. Thomas Wilkinson, through James Nairne.

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