Enquiry about object: 4658

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    Finely Carved South Indian Nut with Silver Mounts

    South India, probably Madras
    circa 1800

    length: 10.2cm, weight: 108g

    Available - Enquire


    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This splendid box made from a nut is difficult to photograph and so the images here do not quite do it justice. It comprises a nut that has been halved and then finely carved on one side with an intricate rendering of a plump infant Krishna treading on and grasping a snake (Krishna Kaliyadamana). The other side is decorated with roundels of flowers and foliage.

    The two halves are hinged together with silver hinges and the edges of the two halves are lined with silver and pearled silver wire. A silver thumb press released the closing mechanism when pressed.

    A small bone eyelet at one end allows the box to be suspended possibly from around the neck.

    The image of Krishna is beautifully decorated with jewellery, bells and waist bands. It shows Krishna as Krishna Kaliyadamana, in a guise that relates to Krishna’s childhood – the god had a fight with the snake Kaliya, who had previously quarrelled with Garuda whom he snake had failed to honour with an offering. Kalyia subsequently poisoned a pool of water with his venom. Krishna’s friends, the cow-herders and their flocks were then poisoned when drinking from the pool. On hearing about this, Krishna rushed to their aid and almost kicked Kaliya to death.

    Overall, this is a wonderful survivor from South India. It is in excellent condition and is without any losses, cracks, chips or repairs.


    Mitchell, A.G., Hindu Gods and Goddesses, UBSPD, 1982.

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