Jade Terrapin from Allahabad
The Jade Terrapin from Allahabad is a large sculpture of a terrapin carved from a single piece of jade. Dating from the early 17th Century when most of India was ruled by the Mughal dynasty, this luxurious and unique artefect was found in Allahabad in the early nineteenth century.
|Jade Terrapin from Allahabad|
The jade terrapin on display at the British Museum
|Size||20 cm high, 48.5 cm long and 32 cm wide|
|Created||17th century AD|
|Present location||British Museum, London|
|Registration||ME OA 1830.6-12.1|
This massive object of precious stone was carved from one large piece of jade in the 17th century for the court of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The terrapin has been very realistically portrayed, so much so that scientists have proposed that it is modelled on a female of the Kachuga dhongoka species of turtle. Jahangir established a royal court at Allahabad between 1605-1627. The terrapin was probably made during this period as a decorative ornament for one of the landscaped pools in the palace gardens.
Discovery and ownershipEdit
The jade sculpture was accidentally found at the bottom of a well during engineering excavations in Allahabad in 1803. Its artistic skill and value was immediately recognised by its excavators and the object was soon after shipped to England by Lieutenant General Alexander Kyd of the Bengal Engineers. A relative of the Kyd family, Lt Thomas Wilkinson, subsequently bequeathed it to the British Museum in 1830.