1Ii] ARCHAEOLOGY OF HISTORICAL PERIOD i33
People with such a habit had no inducement to design art
ware intended for permanent preservation. But side by side
with the coarse earthenware pots, Hindus, from time imme-
morial, have been accustomed to use vessels of metal-gold,
silver, copper, brass, and other alloys. W'e might expect to
find numerous ancient examples of metal vessels employed in
domestic service or the worship of the gods, but as a matter of
fact such examples are of the utmost rarity. The only really
ancient domestic utensil known seems to be the engraved lota,
or waterpot, found in I857 in Kulu in the Punjab, and now in
the Indian Museum at South Kensington. The shape of this
unique vessel is exactly the same as that of the common pots
now in use. Its approximate date is determined by the
engraving, which consists of a processional scene treated after
the manner of the Sanchi and Bharhut bas-reliefs, and indi-
cates that the work may be attributed with some confidence to
the second century B.C.
Very little of the sumptuous metal ware which served the
needs of the luxurious princes and nobles of the imperial court
seems to have escaped the melting-pot. Sir George Birdwood
has figured a beautiful silver hukka bowl, decorated with trans-
parent enamel, belonging to the Royal Collection, and dating
from 'the best Mughal period,' but examples of work of that
age are very rare.
The art of decorating jade vessels with gems is an invention Jewelled
of the Mughal period, which may have been due to either the jade.
European or the Indian jewellers in the service of the court.
Two priceless specimens of this costly art-a bowl and a
plume-are in the Indian Museum at South Kensington, and
have been figured in Sir George Birdwood's book.
Several examples of small caskets and receptacles made of Rock
rock crystal have been found in ancient Buddhist stzipas. By crystal.
far the most ancient, as well as the largest and most important
of these, is the covered bowl which accompanied the relics of
Buddha in the Piprahwa siizpa mentioned above. This bowl is
3¼ in. in diameter, and, including the cover, stands 3$ in. high.
The cover, which fits with perfect accuracy, has a handle in
the shape of a fish, hollowed out, and stuffed with stars of
gold-leaf. The crystal bowl and the steatite vases accompany-
ing it are all turned on the lathe, and we thus learn that the
Indian lapidaries were familiar with the use of the lathe in or
about 450 B.C.
The skill of the ancient craftsmen in shaping, polishing, and Jewellery.
piercing gems of extreme hardness, is attested for the same