This Bhuta figure on the elephant is Kodamanittaya/ Kodamandaya, Kodaman (place name) + Althaaya ( belongs to that place). The name is after the Kodaman Barke, one of the oldest landlord house of Tulunadu (Southern Coastal Karnataka region covering Mangalore and Udupi).
Here Kodamanittaya is wearing Ani (note the top portion) holding a sword and a shield in his hands. He is sitting astride on an elephant, a physical impossibility for normal human but then he is a Bhuta. One of the special feature of this Vigraha is the engraved little human figure on the back of the Ani. Other features worth noting are Cobra shaped earrings, mustachio, tiara and the shoulder decoration.
Bhuta means either demon or spirit. In this context it means spirit. The benevolent landlord is given the stature of Daiva (One rung below Devaru -God) and is worshipped all the same. For details on the Bhuta worship please refer to the blog on Pilichandi.
This is a published and exhibited sculpture, though I did not realize it at the time of purchase. Please see page 45 of the catalogue or page 23 of the PDF. http://www.indianheritage.biz/files/bhutacatalogue.pdf. Included a screen grab for convenience. The ‘signature’ (little breaks, nicks and green patches) of the bronzes match.
Most of the information for this blog came from Dr. Naveen Kumar Marike. In his own words
“This is Kodamanittaya Daiva statue…. usually Kodamanittaya Tiger riding Daiva. Rarely we find elephant riding figure. Half Ani( headgear) is the special feature of Kodamanittaya…. Jumadi, Jarandaya, Ullaku … these are other elephant riding Tulu Daivas.”
“Kodaman Barke is the one of the oldest landlord houses of Tulunadu.. they started to worship this daiva first… later this daiva spread over Tulunadu… that’s why daiva called as kodamanittaya/ kodamandaya..
Kodaman (place name) + althaaya ( belong to that place)”
This Bhuta figure is about 25 cm high and may be dated to the 19th century.