Deccan Lota 06

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Size (WxDxH): 4.2 x 4.2 x 4.2 inches
Medium: Brass and Copper
Origin: Bijapur (Vijayapura)


This is a beautiful, cast and engraved, Deccan bimetal lota or water vessel, with floral and geometric designs in light brass against a copper background, from Bijapur (Vijayapura) in Karnataka. The central band has palmette designs enclosed in snaking tendrils of vines. Around the base and hugging the neck are lappets. 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. 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.
This piece combines the South Indian style of bold ornament and weighty proportions with floral scrollwork derived from Mughal motifs. Lotas such as these can be found in the Victoria and Albert museum, London.