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Rare Bronze Libation Conch Shell
India
18th century

length: 19.5cm

This beautiful and rare conch shell has been cast as one piece using the lost wax process. The conch shell (shanka) has ritual and symbolic importance in
Hindu ceremonies, and usually real conch shells are used. But in this case, it has been cast in bronze and lightly etched. We are not aware of similar examples
having been published. It is probably the product of a South Indian bronze caster.

This example would have been cast as a water scoop and libation vessel, to be used to pour sacred water over a bronze image of a deity or a lingam.

The conch is also one of the four emblems of the god Vishnu along with disc, mace and lotus.

This example has a splendid, dark chocolate patina, commensurate with age and ritual use. It is also an excellent example of casting work and very sculptural.

References:
Rawson, P., Tantra, Arts Council of Great Britain, 1971.

Provenance: UK art market

Inventory no.: 4566

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