Detail Photos

Although sometimes referred to as "funeral bronzes", I think a more apt term might be "tributary bronzes", which can also serve a commemorative purpose as a funerary bronze would, but also have broader applications.  These are commissioned not just after death, but also at life passage points, which is to say at any important event in one's life when humans might seek the assistance of supernatural beings - whether that be God with a capital "G" as in Mahadev - the omnipotent creator, or some other tutelary deity, local deity or spirit.  One might also commission such a figure when one is requesting or has already received some helpful benefit from a shaman or holy man.  In this latter case we might find a figure like we have been discussing here - the 3 ascetics with trisuls (tridents) and the bulls or cows in front.  At this point we can only guess at what might have been the motivation behind the creation of this particular piece, though it is a motif we find with some frequency in the far western middle hills.  When people go to foreign lands seeking employment  - most often India but countries in the West would also certainly be a possibility, join the military (there are Gurkha or Nepali regiments in the Nepal, Indian and British armies), the person who is going abroad or his family might commission such a figure as a propitiation device for a prosperous journey and safe return.

 These figures are also prepared when one has received something positive due to what is perceived as divine intervention of some sort.  For instance, if a man visits a shrine or temple and prays that the god in resident would provide him with a cow, and if his wish is fulfilled, he might offer a metal figure of a cow in return on his next visit to that same temple.

 There are a few figures which are seen with considerable frequency:  figures on horse back (sometimes holding weapons), cows, bulls, and shaman or mendicants. Also simple male and female figures are found.  Usually these are made by itinerant metal smiths who pass through the small villages or in the case of large villages or towns there might be a local metal smith who does such work.  These figures are sometimes left out doors, sometimes kept in homes or shrines, and may be the objects of regular offerings of yogurt, clarified butter, sindur and vermillion powder as well as fruits and foods.

 The triple figure we have been considering seems to have served as an offering lamp.  Probably oil was poured into the raised cups on either side of the central figure, where a wick would be lit.



ITEM NAME:   Primitive metal figures
PRICE:   Email 
STATUS:   Available
PEOPLE/REGION:   Far west Nepal




circa  mid 20th c. or earlier


9" X 5" tall

Please email your inquiries. Shopping cart coming soon.

Visa, American Express, Master Cards and Discover are accepted.


Previous | Main | Next

Other Sectionsó>  Adornment | Carpets | Furniture | Housewares | Masks | Naga Artifacts