Vintage engraved Lassi glasses make delightful vases.
Kay and I often marvel at one of the mysteries of the Silk Road showroom - why nobody seems interested in these beautiful vintage Lassi glasses. In this blog I'm calling them glasses though elsewhere I call them cups. Neither word seems quite right. They're the shape of a glass but they're made from brass and nickel, not glass.
And it's not true to say that no-one buys them. We've sold a few but considering the price - between £18 and £28 - and their uniqueness & charm, that's very few.
They're something of a blast from the past - the past when everyday Indian items were wonderful decorative objects - before the advent of plastic. Lassi is that cool refreshing buttermilk drink - either sweet, salted or plain, or mixed with banana and mango - that has given every traveller relief from the heat of the Indian plains. Served in these elegant patterned cool metal cups - wonderful! Read more.
Made from spun brass, often with a nickel plated finish, sometimes made from a nickel alloy, and decorated with an etched or engraved pattern, each one is unique. The designs can be intricate small floral patterns or larger, more open designs of trees, ferns and vases of flowers. Sometimes the patterns are a collection of dots and occasionally they contain text.
I recently gave them a polish and paid them a little bit more attention. I love the one in the centre of this photo, it's brass, thicker and heavier than the others. At first I though it was rather dull and with no discernible pattern but came to realise that it's rather like one of these old Chinese landscape paintings. You can't quite make anything out but it's a feast for the imagination.
You can find hundreds of these delightful but neglected Lassi glasses in dusty corners of warehouses in Delhi and maybe come across odd ones in boutique shops. Or maybe on a tray when you're served a welcoming drink of cool buttermilk at the check-in desk at an upmarket hotel.
Or you can buy one at the Silk Road Gallery as a reminder of when the everyday items of India were beautiful and unique, hand crafted and precious.