Deepalakshmi with Parakeet

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Size: 4.75 x 4.75 x 13.75 inches
Material: Brass
Origin: Tamil Nadu


This elegant lost-wax cast brass lamp bearer (deepa lakshmi) is from Tamil Nadu. Deepa means ‘light’ and Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, love, beauty, joy and prosperity. The figure holds a leaf-shaped oil well or wick pan. Her hair falls in a beautiful long plait down her back and a parakeet sits on her left shoulder. She stands on a double plinth, the first circular and the lower square. The different kinds of fabric on her dress are designed with etchings and ribs to beautifully show the flow and fall of her clothes. The piece is dated in Tamil script 1948.
The ancient art of lost-wax casting dates back nearly 6000 years in India, and the oldest example in the world is from the Indus Valley Civilization. First an artist creates an original model from wax. Everything is then encased with layers of clay, thus becoming a mould for the molten metal that will be poured inside it. When this is poured in, the wax melts and the original is lost. Once the metal hardens, the outer layer of clay is smashed, which is what makes each piece unique.