Indian art in close-up detail, £14.99
Height: 4.300 inches
Height: 4.300 inches (tripod)
Gift of Mrs. Kenneth Kay
Asia OA 1936.12-19.3
Room 33: Asia
Bronze ritual tripod and ewer
From the Deccan, India, 12th century AD
Hindu or Jain temples and domestic shrines require certain vessels and utensils for the performance of rituals. These are often replaced on account of wear and melted down to make new ones. Most Indian shrines, Hindu or Jain, use water vessels to store water (both precious and cooling in a country of intense heat), which is used to pour over an image during ritual.
Although prolific in its production of terracotta, India never developed a tradition of glazed ceramic wares. This was on account of the greater popularity and use of metal wares such as this. Many vessels of this type were transported to Indian temples in South-east Asia (particularly to Java, Cambodia and Thailand), where they greatly influenced the shape of the indigenous ceramic and metal wares, especially the spouted vessels known as kendi.
Vessels that contain sacred water are generally not set directly on the ground, which is thought to be polluting, and instead are placed on a stand, such as this tripod.