Polychrome Zoomorphic Wooden Powder Flask
diameter (approx.): 25cm x 26cm, thickness: 5.5cm
This large polychrome wooden powder flask is carved as a flattened sphere in the form of a large, green makara, disgorging an elephant from its mouth. In turn, the elephant disgorges from its mouth a full-breasted Indian maiden. And she in turn holds between her arms a green parrot with a red beak and red feet.
The makara has a gold-coloured mane down its back. The first mane segment actually functions as the flask’s stopper – it pulls out, allowing powder to be poured from the flask.
Almost certainly from Rajasthan, India’s querulous desert state, the styling of the makara head seems based on eighteenth century cannons in Rajasthan,
most particularly on examples at Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur. The flask itself however dates to the nineteenth century.
The flask is without repairs and the polychrome largely is intact. There are small losses to the extremities of the elephant’s ears, but other than this, the flask is intact. Overall, this is an unusual and whimsical example of a north Indian powder flask. It is also larger than many extant examples.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 1665
The first segment of the makara’s mane is shown out in the above image. It is from here that powder can be poured.