Ornamental Object


Ornamental Object



The handsome object is in the form of a mandapa (pavilion). It was very likely made in Bombay in the workshop of a Mr Gill in the early 20th century. Neither its function nor the exact techniques of its manufacture are known. The metalwork seems cast rather than beaten. Mr Gill’s workshop was known to produce objects that closely copied ancient architectural designs and mythological scenes. The Museum’s Tata Collection has several silver objects from Mr Gill’s workshop.

The inspiration for this mandapa comes from the famous Jain temples at Mount Abu in Rajasthan which is a major place of pilgrimage for Jains. The upper and lower trays are marvellous adaptations of the dome and ceiling panels respectively,of the rangamandapa (assembly hall) of the Lunavasahi Temple. This temple was constructed in 1230 ce by Tejahpala, minister of the Solanki king, Bhima.

The lower tray is supported on the curled trunks of eight elephant heads. Above these are hexagonal stambha (columns), each tapering upward. At the top of each column is the miniature figure of a seated Jina. Between every two pillars is the stambhatorana, a multicusped arch stamped with the valika (ear ornament) design.

The most striking elements of this object are the two trays. In the lower tray is a large sunken square with its corners touching four sides of the outer octagon. A smaller sunken square within this has an exact replica of one of the ceiling panels of the Lunavasahi Temple, showing the birth of Krishna. The entire lower tray is an imitation of a samatalavitana, a ceiling with a geometrically uniform pattern.

The design of the upper tray is an adaptation of the inside of the dome of the same temple. The central projecting element is the padmashila (pendant lotus medallion). Sixteen figures depicting celestial nymphs are borne on projecting shelves by flying support figures (vidyadhara, or “wisdom bearers”). The eight vertically seated Jina-like figures around the tray may represent the band of numerous Jain sages that complete the decoration of the actual ceiling.

Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection.


Indian Decorative Art

Object Type

Decorative Art








Early 20th Century CE




Height 34.6 cm