As defined in the Britannica web site, India occupies most of South Asia and with 1/6th of the world’s population is the second most populous country after China. It has a highly diverse population with thousands of ethnic groups and hundreds of languages. It is primarily Hindu, with smaller populations of Buddhism and Jainism and the Goa region has a small Christian population. It has an illustrious past though its highly sophisticated urbanized Indus culture which flourished from 2600 to 2000 BCE. Indian cultural and folk-art traditions affect all aspects of life: art, carvings, pottery, ritual and ceremonial items, functional and utilitarian pieces as well as jewelry and textiles, many which are represented in the VA collection.

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  • Antique Carved Coconut Grater/Fruit Cutter, South India


    Hand carved coconut cutters like this were commonly used in India and Thailand to facilitate the difficult task of extracting all parts of the coconut that were routinely used in these cultures. Carvers took pleasure in creating unique and functional folk art tools with local artistic motifs. Long since discontinued, this carving with its warm and rustic feel would be a unique decorative addition to any style kitchen and an interesting conversational piece.

  • Antique/Vintage Carved Hindu Deity Child’s Doll, South India


    This antique hardwood local female deity from a provincial area in South India represents a Devi, a positive spirit and fertility deity. Hand crafted as a child’s toy, it was intentionally crudely carved without much detail or reality, created to entertain and instill pride in the local community’s heritage and religion. It has a shiny patina from natural hand oil from being handled a century or so.  

  • Vintage Terracotta Shiva Lingam with Parvati, India


    This colorful terracotta image devotional image of Shiva and Parvati was used for daily puja in a Hindu home. Shiva is represented by a lingham, a symbolic phallus, while the image of his consort Parvati is portrayed as a female deity figure. The dark green tree behind them highlights both of them and a garland of colorful flowers draped over the dark Shiva lingham emphasizes the importance and power of Shiva. The orange and black snake at the apex of the garland is Vasuli, the charm Shiva usually wares around his neck who represents Shiva’s power and fearlessness, while Parvati reaches across to the lingham to designate Shiva as the important “center” of the composition.

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