Description & Technical information

This is a sprinkler in the form of a cow who is depicted with her head lowered for grazing, a bell attached with a chain to the neck and a blanket on her back. The function of this object is suggested by the fact that the mouth and the udders are pierced with holes to allow liquid to flow through. It was probably filled via the hole at the back, where the break in the upper part of the tail suggests an attachment, now lost, possibly a funnel. Ritual pourers in the form of cows or cows’ heads are commonly seen in Hindu temples, where the sacred image is lustrated with milk or holy water. For various forms of pourer, see Untracht, Oppi et al, Metal Marvels: South Asian Handworks, Porvoo, 1993, No. 28 and Bussabarger, Robert & Robins, Betty, The Everyday Art of India, New York, 1978, p. 80.

Date:  16th / 17th century
Period:  1400-1600, 1600-1750, 16th Century, 17th century
Origin:  Deccan, Northern India
Dimensions: 11 x 16 x 6 cm (4³/₈ x 6¹/₄ x 2³/₈ inches)
Categories: Oriental and Asian Art, Sculpture