Enquiry about object: 1386

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Brahmin Maratha Couple Carved in Horn

Bombay, India
circa 1820

height: 19.5cm, length: 14cm, width: 9.5cm



UK art market

This finely rendered model of an Indian couple is carved in horn, probably buffalo horn. The modelling of the clothing is exact and precise and identifies the couple as being both Brahmin and from the Maratha ethnic group, the group that is indigenous to Bombay and its environs.

The way in which the man’s turban has been folded is characteristically Maratha. His robes and pointy-ended shoes also suggest his Brahmin Maratha origins. Interestingly, his shoes and his wife’s lack of shoes is mirrored in the black & white image of a Brahmin Maratha family taken towards the end of the nineteenth century.

The item is in fine condition. There are no significant cracks, chips or restorations. Overall, the sculptural group is finely executed but it also has an important reportive quality in that it is an accurate depiction of nineteenth century upper class Maratha dress. It is also a relatively rare piece. We are aware of few similar sculptural groups executed in horn from Bombay.

A Brahmin Maratha group photographed in Bombay around the late 19th century. The man wears a Maratha turban, the long dhoti and shoes with upturned toes as in the horn carving; similar to the carving.

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