Lot 173
  • 173

A large silver tribal or ritual mask of Nandi, South India, 18th century

10,000 - 15,000 GBP
12,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • silver
  • 42cm. height; 41cm. max. length.


Vincent Laloux, Brussels.


Musée d'Art et Histoire, Geneva, 1988.
Pavillon des Arts, Paris, 1988.


Mughal Silver Magnificence, XVI-XIXth Century, Antalga, Brussels, 1987, pp.180-1, no.288.

Catalogue Note

Composed of solid silver, this ritual mask would have been presented at the temple as an offering of thanks and consecrated by the priest (pujari). Masks such as this would have been considered as property of the Deity and taken out in procession during religious festivals (Cary Welch 1985, p.388). This mask represents the bull Nandi ('The Happy One') which was Shiva’s 'vahana' (vehicle) and, according to some, the embodiment of the God’s strength and virility (ibid, p.45). Southern Indian masks of Deities in silver are very rare, and the present example reveals an outstanding level of workmanship. The juxtaposition of elaborately ornate areas and plain surfaces of silver enhances the fine quality of the decorative elements such as the feather-like motifs on the bull’s forehead.