Indian Silver, A Very Large Articulated Silver Fish (Matsya), And Container (Macchli Ka Sindurdan), Eastern India And The Bay Of Bengal, 19th Century.

Identification Number: 280


This fish was probably used as a symbolic incarnation and as the Avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu.

But the main function of this type of articulated fish was to be used as a cosmetic powder container (and their ingredients), such as vermillion (kum kum), turmeric (kaldic), abil (telugu), gulal or abir (coloured powders used for the typical Hindu rituals and holly festivals) etc.

Condition: Very Good.


49 cm long.
16 cm width at largest point of the fish’s body.


1- Indian Art-Exhibition, Delhi, 1903, The official Catalogue of Delhi Exhibition, 1902-1903, By Sir George Watt, Kt., C.I.E., M.B., ECT., Director. Printed in Calcutta.
Please see the lot No. 7 among the selected silver plate of India, page 33.

2- Mughal Silver Magnificence (XVI-XIX th. Century), Antalga, 1987, ISBN 0 951 8523 1 0,
Please notice the almost identical example lot No. 116 catalogued in page 95.

3- Les Objets Indians En Argents (Indian objects made out of Silver), by S. K. Pathak, Charles Moreau| Roli, 2008, ISBN: 978-2-909458-49-6.
Please notice the almost identical example catalogued in page 99.