Deccan Lota 01

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Size (WxDxH): 6.5 x 6.5 x 6 inches
Medium: Brass
Origin: North Karnataka


Elaborately decorated, cast and engraved, this Deccan brass lota or water vessel features three peacocks displaying their extravagant tail feathers around the central chamber. At the neck of the lota and at the base are repeating lappets, with a smaller band of quatrefoil designs, framing the central chamber. The peacocks are surrounded by flora and vines. The decoration is typical of the more opulent and luxurious Deccan style. On the base can be seen an ancient technique of a dovetail fixing of a copper centre to the brass - this was in order to fill the last section left open by the casting process. Similar shaped lotas can be found in Christie's, Bonhams and in Mark Zebrowski's "Gold, Silver and Bronze from Mughal India", cat.331, 332, p.211.
The lota is thought to be one of the most ancient Indian vessels, with archaeological discoveries of lotas dating to 1st or 2nd century BC. Early versions were often ridged or fluted, so it is thought that they took their shape from hollowed out melons or gourds that were used as water carriers, and this botanical origin continued to dictate its form. More than 1500 years later, lotas are still found, but the Mughal influence meant many had radically different ornamentation like the lota here.