A beautiful neti
with a desirable zoomorphic theme. Great pieces like this with
genuine age are quite hard to come by these days. It has
an avian motif in the form of 2 "love birds" perched on the top
at the place where the churn axis is tied off to a fixed
support. Directly underneath the craftsman has revealed his
adept carving skill by hollowing out a rattle section, with a
stone or wood chunk inside. (See the detail shots accessed
from the link above.) These sorts of folk carvings are very
desirable from a collector's perspective. There is the
sort of wear one would expect, but really considering its
age this piece is in excellent condition, and all the important
aspects of its design are intact with no loss at all.
Fantastic patina and in short an excellent old specimen.
Throughout the middle hills area of Nepal, we find this ubiquitous tool - the butter churn handle, known in Nepali as a "ghurra".
They are also often referred to in the vernacular as "neti".
Ghurra act as sort of axis for the churning rod. One end of the
ghurra is tied to rope or cord, and the rope is in turn tied to a post, or some other fixed object. The churn's stick passes through the hole in the
ghurra, with the churning end inserted into the butter jar. There is another churning rope tied around the churn stick in such a way that the two ends of the rope are held (one each) in the butter maker's two hands. Alternately pulling one end of the rope and then the other towards oneself causes the churning stick to twist back and forth, churning the liquid into butter.
The ghurra or neti is a common item, and was traditionally found in
nearly every household in all regions of Nepal. What could be a simple wooden ring, as mechanically speaking that would be all that is required for such an implement, has evolved into a great domestic art form. The ghurra or neti has become one of the distinctive mediums for expression by village artisans. The variety of
ghurra are truly astounding and the vary from very simple, to highly elaborate requiring high levels of carving skill.
Nepal - Far West
circa 19th early
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