8708

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    Indian Silver Dish Depicting Surya

    India, either Calcutta or Madras
    circa 1880

    diameter: approximately 18.2cm, weight: 280g

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    Provenance

    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This very unusual silver decorative dish hammered and repoussed in high relief from thick, high-grade silver shows Surya or Savitar, the Hindu sun god, on his chariot driven by his charioteer Aruna and pulled by Uchchaihshravas, his seven-headed horse.

    The chariot is shown with two wheels. It is being driven over a rocky ground with a flowering tree in the background.

    Uchchaihshravasis is depicted with short ears, typical of local Indian horse breeds.

    The rim of the dish is repoussed with leafy scrollwork.

    Surya is considered the centre of creation, and a source of light, warmth, life and knowledge. He was regarded as the solar deity from early on. Surya rides in a chariot that is pulled either by seven horses, or by one horse with seven heads (Uchchaihshravas) as is the case here.

    The dish is in excellent condition. The dish is unusual – we have not seen another quite like it. Probably it was made for the colonial market, but equally might have been made for a local Hindu client.

    References

    Dallapiccola, A.L., Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend, Thames & Hudson, 2002.

    Dehejia, V., Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj, Mapin, 2008.

    Gupta, S.P. (ed.), Masterpieces from the National Museum Collection, National Museum, New Delhi, 1985.

    Wilkinson, W.R.T., Indian Silver 1858-1947, 1999.

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