4249

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Miniature Shaivaite Shrine

Maharashtra, India
18th-19th century

height: 9.6cm, width: 6.5cm, depth: 6.5cm

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Provenance

private collection, London.

The compact, cast brass shrine, mounted on a pedestal represents the theme of Shiva-linga worship. Various members of the Shaivite ‘family’ are present around a central shiva-lingam. They are Ganesh, Hanuman, Krishna, Anapurna and Nandi. The scene is complete with an aureole with a leafy border, and against which rears a multi-headed cobra which provides a protective canopy to the shiva-lingam.

The shrine has a flared, square base with pierced sides, a serrated skirted edge, and four, short feet.

Such shrines come from the small towns and villages of Maharashtra (the state that takes in Mumbai/Bombay) indicating that these were popular objects of worship in domestic settings. It was customary that these domestic shrines are were tended regularly with daily worship and offerings. But such shrines are rarely encountered now.

The aureole is missing several of its lower leaves on one side bit otherwise is complete. Despite, the naive presentation, this small bronze is remarkable for its detail and its harmony of composition.

References

Aryan, K.C., Folk Bronzes: Of North Western India, Rekha Prakashan, 1973.

Dursum, B., et al, Change and Continuity: Folk and Tribal Art of India, Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, 2004.

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