India, Maharashtra, 18th century
Brass - height: 34cm
This magnificent brass elephant is a fine example of Indian folk art made in Maharashtra, India. Within Hindu traditions, the elephant was originally the vehicle (vahana) of the god of lightning, thunder and rain, Indra. The animal was later associated with other deities, such as Durga and Lakshmi. Around the state of Maharashtra, the elephant is associated with the local deity Khandoba, who is traditionally revered as a warrior god and manifestation of Shiva.
A comparable example from the same period, region, and with similar measurements resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (accession number: 2008.645.1a–c). This elephant demonstrates the deity Khandoba and Mahout (elephant trainer) sitting on top - the present elephant also comes with riders surmounted in a similar fashion and with a structure sheltering the deity. Stylistically they are very much alike; having wide column like legs and a long trunk supported by a slim horizontal rod attached to the body of the animal. Both elephants are set on a base with pierced geometric designs. The decorations, such as the ankle straps, layered necklaces and floral motives on the elephant’s head, are applied by way of incisions and low relief.
This elephant is expertly cast in the lost wax method from brass – a favoured material of the Mahrastra region during the 18th century. The animal’s size, beautiful authentic patina, technical skill, well-balanced volume and pronounced details make this sculpture a high-quality artwork within its genre.
Tewari Family collection, Germany
https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/75276 lastly visited 04/05/2021
 Not shown on the image – please enquire should you be interested to see the elephant with figures surmounted.
Thailand, Lan Na kingdom,
Chieng Sen, 16th century
bronze with original gilding
– height: 48cm