“Panjurli is one of the most powerful spirits worshipped in the Bhuta region. Being a spirit of totemistic origin, Panjurli got rooted in this region of agricultural and forest land and is worshipped both as a family deity in the households as well as in public shrines. Different forms of Panjurli namely annappa panjurli, kuppe panjurli, baggu panjurli, malara panjurli, boti panjurli, angana panjurli are noticed.”
Aryanization of local beliefs has resulted in Panjurli, like other spirits, is considered to have originated from the Hindu Pantheon. There are vocal traditions relating to Siva and to Vishnu.
Here the deity figure is wearing Ani, the surround for his waist and torso. He is holding sword and puja bell in his hands and is sporting a strong moustache and has thick eyebrows. Riding a boar, he personifies Panjurli spirit.
The ornaments include an inverted basket like crown, earrings, necklaces, armbands, wristbands and anklets. I am yet to come across anthropomorphic forms of Hindu deities without ornaments. Even mendicant Bhairava, who is naked, wears ornaments. Well here, even the boar is wearing a neck chain.
This bronze comes in two parts and may have originated in Malabar region of Kerala. The open inverted basket like crown is one of the identifiers. The black colour is another determining factor. Despite this bronze being from Malabar, it is identified as Panjurli as the traditions in Malabar and Tulu regions are related.
The bronzes height is about 14.5 cm. There is age to this bronze and the patina is deep. A similar bronze is featured in Change and continuity, Folk and Tribal Art of India, Lowe Art Museum (Figure 76/page 42). That bronze is dated to the 18th century or earlier (Not by much).
For additional discussion on Bhutas please see Pilichandi on this website.