Lot 13
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Folk Figure    

17th Century

North Kerala

Height: 9.5 in (24.1 cm)

Kerala folk bronzes are much sought after. This lovely standing folk figure is that of a Namboodiri, a high caste Hindu. It is an outstanding sculpture due to its simplicity and the manner in which the figure stands, with both hands folded in reverence.

The head of the Brahmin is clean shaven. He has large eyes, sloping eyebrows and a prominent nose. He has long ears and wears heavy pendulous earrings. The customary 'tilak' on his forehead is also visible. His upper body is bare and he wears a short dhoti with a belt holding it in place. He wears a necklace with a heart-shaped pendant.

North Kerala has the credit of being the cradle of many wonderful folk arts and is home to the cultural centre of the famous Nileswara district. This was the seat of the Nileswar Rajas, who were lovers of art and patrons too. A prominent place where such outstanding folk art of this region can be viewed is the Nileswara palace, which also happens to be the centre of folklore of the Department of Archaeology.

The folk tradition in Kerala lasted for a long time, right up to the 20th century. Most of the pieces that are seen in the marketplace date between the mid 19th and early 20th century. These pieces were made in large numbers and are hence freely available. However, the finest examples are those made in the 17th and 18th centuries. This specimen is a very early example and hence very thinly cast.

In this piece, one can see that the hands are shown as extremely thin and feeble. The ears are extraordinarily large and the ear-ornaments distinctly shown. The head has a slight tilt and the chest is shown in a disproportionate manner. The element of humour, that is so important in folk art, cannot be missed. The sculpture has an excellent dark bronze patina with traces of green. This sculpture is an important and early example of folk art of the 17th century.

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  Lot 13 of 24  

28-29 NOVEMBER 2012

Rs 1,50,000 - 2,00,000
$3,000 - 4,000

Winning Bid
Rs 1,80,000
(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)


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