6005

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Miniature Brass Shaivaite Altar

Maharashtra, India
18th-19th century

height: 5.9cm, depth: 5cm, width: 4cm, weight: 90g

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Provenance

UK art market

The compact, cast brass shrine, mounted on a pedestal is devoted to Shiva-Linga worship. Various members of the Shaivite ‘family’ are present around a central Shiva-lingam. They are Ganesh, Krishna, Anapurna and Nandi. The scene is complete with a tree-like aureole from which rears a hooded cobra to provide a protective canopy to the shiva-lingam.

The shrine has a flared, square base with pierced sides, a serrated skirted edge, and four, short feet.

Such shrines come from the small towns and villages of Maharashtra (the state that takes in Mumbai/Bombay). They were popular objects of worship in domestic settings. It was customary that these domestic shrines are were tended regularly with daily worship and offerings. But rarely are such shrines encountered now.

The shrine is complete. It has a naive charm, and is remarkable for its detail and harmony of composition.

References

Aryan, K.C., Folk Bronzes: Of North Western India, Rekha Prakashan, 1973.

Dursum, B., et al, Change and Continuity: Folk and Tribal Art of India, Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, 2004.

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