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This well-proportioned image of cow, probably intended to be Nandi, the vahana or celestial mode of transport of Shiva, is made of cast bronze. The fine detailing includes several processional chains of bells.
The image stands on a rectangular base with head raised. It has two small horns. A palmette motif is engraved to the top of the cow’s head.
Nandi images often are placed at the entrance of Shiva temples and have long been associated with fertility and prosperity.
It is possible that this image was intended to represent not Nandi but a cow that Krishna might have tended in his cow herder form, and so might have been placed on an altar along with Krishna.
This item comprised lot 532 in Christie’s, ‘Islamic & Indian Works of Art & Textiles’ sale, 27th April 2012.
The image has a fine colour and obvious age. It is very finely modelled and has substantial sculptural form.
Mitchell, A.G., Hindu Gods and Goddesses, UBSPD, 1982.