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.
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.
In good overall condition, some very light scratches to surface and oxidisation visible to interior and few minor patches in ears, as viewed. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."