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17th CENTURY DECCAN HAMSA
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Exotica, Natural History & Works of Art

17th CENTURY DECCAN HAMSA

A wonderfully extravagant and unusual brass hamsa bird

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17th CENTURY DECCAN HAMSA

This was almost certainly the oil container for a lamp.

Height 15 cm width 17.5 cm depth 9.5 cm (6 x 7 x 3.75 in )

The plumed head has alert, wide eyes and Issuing from his flared beak is a rush of water which is complemented by his scrolling tale. His plump body is covered in detailed feathers and the small yali, a mythical lion, which stretches forward from between his legs provides the outlet for the oil which it would once have held. This diminutive creature is an unusual addition and emphasises the flamboyance of the object.

The hamsa, a mythical bird, is a spiritual symbol representing the perfect balance in life; the word is derived from the exhalation of the Sanskrit sound 'ham' and the inhalation of 'sa'. The creature is associated with the swan or goose. The yali is a chimera and another mythical creature; here with the head of a lion. Both of these creatures are used not only for religious ceremony but also as decorative elements in architecture and sculpture.

Bibliography:
Flames of devotion, Anderson pub. Los Angeles 2006
(for a lamp in the form of a cockerel with makara head outlet p.94)

1864 /

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