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TWO JEWELLED SILVER KAVACHAM

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TWO JEWELLED SILVER KAVACHAM

Used to adorn and cover stone sculptures of the gods

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TWO JEWELLED SILVER KAVACHAM

From Tamil Nadu in Southern India

19th Century

Height 30 cm (12 in )

These large and naturalistically styled body coverings or kavacham (the term literally means "shield") are modelled with intricate clothing and jewelry adorned with garnets. They are intended to cover the sculpted images of gods in the temples of southern India and would have been further decorated with flowers and carried in procession around the temple on feast days and ceremonial occasions.

The tantrik deities also have armour or kavacha which protect their devotees from danger whether physical or mental. The kavacha can be chants which are recited during prayer and contemplation and are also written down and worn as talisman for the protection of the wearer. The image of Shiva or Shakti, for instance, could be worn on a medallion with the invocation engraved on tSilverhe reverse.

Bibliography:
Icons in Gold - Jewelry of India from the Collection of the Musee Barbier-Mueller, pub. Geneva, 2005

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