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16th C. Indian Kerala / Bhuta Culture Bronze Bear

Central Asia, India, Northern Kerala / Southern Coastal Karnataka, Bhuta cult, ca. 1500 CE. A rare and quite delightful bronze boar presenting a long snout, open mouth, perky ears, and delineated male genitals, a well as front and rear feet upon small metal bases. A wonderful example with attractive sage green patina. Size: 3.25" L x 2.25" H (8.3 cm x 5.7 cm)

'Bhuta' refers to the cult of 'spirit' worship that is still active in South Coastal Karnataka (known as Tulu Nadu region). The Bhuta tradition is extremely old and goes back to over two thousand years in these parts. The 'Bhuta Kola', a ritualistic ceremony, is characterized by a human oracle who gets possessed by a spirit and answers practical questions or queries, along with performing vigorous dances and other movements.

Condition: Sections of base beneath front hooves missing. Loss to back and tips of ears. Lovely green patina.

Provenance: private southern California, USA collection, acquired before 2000

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