I thought I would show some small brass objects that I have - and, yes, more of my fabulous drawings! Friends are visiting from England. John told me about an objet which a friend had been using as an ashtray, the exact duplicate of which turned up in 'the Olympia catalogue.' I don't know what the Olympia catalogue is (I googled it - it apparently refers to an antiques fair in London), but it described this objet as a 'lustration vessel.' I said, "I have something that sounds like what you just described." (I don't use it as an ashtray! It's so clearly connected to religious practise.) So I showed it to him, and he said that it was, indeed, just like the Olympia piece:

You can see that it's connected with Shiva, because it has small Shiva-lingas on the rim, alternating with Nandi the bull, Shiva's vehicle and his greatest devotee. It's dark brownish-red, and very heavy. There are two small raised figures of gods on one side (I didn't draw that side): one is Ganesh, I think, so the other one might be Shiva's other son, Karthikeya. There's some incised writing around the outside, in a Tamil script that I can't read - it looks different from the modern script, but it may just be that it was difficult to incise.

This is a rice-measure, which I'm using to hold pens and scissors and a stapler and a glue stick on my desk. It also has some Tamil incised into the side, but in this case it must be the initials of the first owner: Sa Nam. I like the South Indian traditional kitchen implements very much, because of their clean simplicity. This one is decorated with a lizard, whose body is in relief - the legs are roughly incised. The lizard is interesting because it looks so fishlike -- as though some enterprising species of fish had grown legs and come inside, to scuttle around our houses.

This is a small urli, a cooking vessel that comes in many sizes. This one is quite small, about the diameter of a saucer. It holds the spare keys.

And here's a paandaan -- a compartmented container for betel leaves and condiments. This one is smaller than usual -- its footprint is about the size of my hand. It currently holds paper clips and pins.

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