57. Pot Cover

57. Pot Cover
Diameter: 23 cm
Twentieth century
Catalogue number 57.
Accession number 88.485.

Such terracotta covers are normally used to seal large rice-storage jars. The images of deities painted on them transform them, however, from domestic utensils to ritual implements. They are used in the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and fortune, on special occasions such as the celebration of the rice harvest on the day of the autumnal full moon. These covers are then placed on wooden platforms or at the center of rice paste patterns on the floor along with various other offerings to the goddess. Subsequently, they are hung on the walls of the home and they form auspicious ornaments.

Two of these (nos. 57 and 58) depict images of Durga as Mahishamardini, and the third, (no. 56) depicts Krishna embracing Radha. On the lower register of all these covers the earth goddess is represented. She bears sheafs of rice in her hands that recall the harvest rituals in which these covers are used.

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