6043

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Large, Impressive, Early Indian Copper Water Pot

Northern India
circa 16th century

height: 41cm, diameter: 26cm, weight: 3,837g

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Provenance

UK art market

This superb water vessel has the most extraordinary patina. Its significant age is very clear. It was acquired in the UK and almost certainly has been in the UK since colonial times – but clearly it was already many hundreds of years old by the time it arrived.

Of thick, beaten copper sheet that has been carefully joined around the vessel’s mid-section, it sits on a flattened bottom, and has gently curved sides until the shoulder is reached. This is ribbed and decorated with rows of punch-marked crosses. It then rises to a small neck which widens to a mouth with a broad ribbed rim.

Such vessels were used to store water – probably lustral holy water, perhaps from the Ganges. Vessels like these were used in some traditional Hindu wedding ceremonies whereby the betrothed couple are bathed after having been smeared with specially ground pastes.

The vessel is large and sculptural and has a splendid age-related chocolate colour.

References

Zebrowski, M., Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India, Alexandria Press, 1997.

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