Kalasa Panel

Since this was published on 27 June, two of my friends contacted me with further information. It is the backplate of a Simhasana, the pedestal for deities. One of the examples, provided by Sreeram is below.

This was auctioned by SaffronART, Mumbai on 17 December 2014.There are two schools of thinking about the religious attribution. The picture is from their website.

In the absence of deities in the niches, this could be Hinduism or Jaina faith.

As per Hindu iconography the Kalasa flanked by two elephants represent Gajalakshmi and the nine female figures below represent Nav-Durgas.

It is not unusual to find Gajalakshmi motif being used in the lintel of inner sanctum in Jain temples as well. If we are to consider this to be from the Jain faith, the nine figures may represent nine planets. The later attribution is bit weak, as the figures appear to be women.

19 July 2021: What is below is the original post as on 27 June 2021. Leaving it unedited…as it records the thinking then

Absence of any provision for attaching it to a base and the fact it is a full panel, without any central space/opening, suggests this could be a standalone Vigraha for worship on its own.

Manasa chali Panchmura মনসা চালি পাঁচমুড়া.jpg

After some research came across Manasa Chali from Bengal with similar design and structure. See the example on our right. The photo is from Wikipedia by বাক্যবাগীশ. It is quite likely this Kalasa Panel is from Bengal.

Earlier in the development, Manasa, the Snake Goddess, was worshipped in the form of a water pot or ewer. But this is probably not Manasa as there are no snakes in the panel.

In Bengal, the Kalasa (water pot) is worshipped as Durga during the Navarathri/Durga festival. This may be one such depiction.

The kalasa, with a face engraved (see the photo below) occupies the central spot. The Kalasa is flanked by plants and elephants. In the lower panel there are nine women standing in Anjali mudra. The panel is topped by another Kalasa.

This is a cast piece and it is about 12 cm in height. Going by the wear, this may be dated to the eighteenth century. Dating is always a guesswork and more so here as this Vigraha is under research.

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