Deccan Lota 04

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Size (WxDxH): 4.2 x 4.2 x 4.2 inches
Medium: Brass and Copper
Origin: North Karnataka / Andhra Pradesh


This cast and engraved Deccan bimetal (copper and brass) lota features a central band with floral or palmette brass designs (perhaps of lilies) contained in copper circles, edged with brass. Two similar bands of repeating geometric diamond shaped designs frame the floral band and then alternating copper and brass lappets hug the neck and base. This combination of both brass and copper is uniquely Indian and is called Ganga-Jamuna, a poetic reference to the contrasting colours of the water of the Ganges and Jamuna rivers. On the base can be seen an ancient technique of a dovetail fixing of a small copper centre to the brass, in order to fill the last section left open by the casting process. Similar shaped lotas can be found 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.