59. Owl

59. Owl
Height: 10.4 cm
Twentieth Century
Catalogue number 59.
Accession number 88.380.

These small dokra figurines are made across eastern India, often by low-caste craftsmen such as the Malhar of Dariapur, West Bengal. This "resin-wire" form of cire perdue casting has been used to make objects for both tribal and rural use. These objects also appear as votive offerings in urban home shrines from Calcutta to Gujarat. Many of these objects gain significance by their symbolical association with wealth and fertility. Mangoes, for instance, (no. 63) grow abundantly in the summer and are a well-loved food item. No. 62 is a remarkably naturalistic representation of a popular and prolific fresh water fish known as rohu, which is cooked and eaten in most parts of Bengal. Dokra animals have also become associated with the worship of particular deities. The owl, (no. 59) for instance, is a popular votive offering to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity (no. 14).

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