This fine example of a palanquin or shamiyana pole end is of silvered copper and is shaped as a lion’s head.
It is most probably from Delhi and would have been used on a palanquin most probably used to transport a member of the Imperial family, of whom there were many on account of polygamy.
The lion has been cast with raised brows; wide, almond-shaped eyes; prominent ears; and a gaping mouth lined by pointy teeth and a protruding, movable tongue.
A silver palanquin finial of similar form in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is illustrated in Wheeler (1956, p. 82).
The example here is sculptural, and free of dents or repairs.
Wheeler, M. (ed.), Textiles and Ornaments of India, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1956.