Its pot-bellied form is based on the indigenous drinking vessels used in the Balkans, but the materials could scarcely be more luxurious: jade inlaid with gold and studded with rubies and emeralds from Central Asia. In around 1800, the tankard was further embellished with gold rococo fittings.
This is the first vessel of its kind to enter a British national collection.
The tankard was offered to the V&A partly through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme with additional funding (including major grants from the Art Fund and the Wolfson Foundation), enabling the V&A to achieve the total remaining cost of £477,500. It is now on display in the Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art.
The Acceptance in Lieu scheme enables taxpayers to transfer important works of art into public ownership while paying inheritance tax. The taxpayer is given the full market value of the item, which then becomes the property of a public museum.