Chikku (Female Attendant)

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Size: 6.5 x 5 x 13.5 inches
Material: Polychrome Wood
Origin: South India


This attractive and finely carved wooden attendant figure is known as Chikku in the bhuta tradition. “The Sanskrit word bhuta means spirit and [pieces like this] are used in the worship of celestial and ancestral spirits, a practice still followed in the Tulu region of Karnataka in Southern India.” - Bonhams. Bhutas are broadly classified into three categories: apotheosized human beings; spirits of totemic origins, often representing animals; and lastly, deities from the Hindu pantheon or their attendants. This Chikku is a bhuta spirit worshipped in the first category. She is carved and painted in original vegetable colours as an attractive female attendant adorned with exquisite jewellery, including necklaces, earrings, a headdress and arm bands - all of which elevates her to a goddess-like status. Her blouse and flared skirt in green and blue have been painted with floral designs.