Lost Heritage.

This vintage enamelware is from India, most likely via Sweden.

Families of the Chettiar caste, who hail from the rural Chettinadu region of South India, amassed vast fortunes as moneylenders in the British Empire. Using this wealth, they built extravagant homes and mansions in their homeland, filled with imported objects from Europe and other countries in Asia. Duo-colour Swedish or Czech enamelware was a favourite requirement in a young Chettiar woman’s dowry.

If you look closely you will find initials in Tamil script carved into each individual piece. The larger cup belonged to M.S.B. The smaller piece belonged to P.L.M.

Following the collapse of the British Empire, many Chettiars emigrated from their homeland to seek new livelihoods in cities throughout India and abroad. Travelling through Chettinadu today, you will come upon countless crumbling mansions and ancestral homes.

indian enamelware

indian enamel cup

indian enamel cup 2