Antique Indian White Metal Articulated Fish Matsya Hinged Head Cosmetic Box (Code 1386)
A late 19th to early 20th century Indian white metal Matsya articulated fish. The head is hinged to reveal a compartment and this is latched using a simple hook and eye mechanism. The articulation has been cut to resemble scales and the articulation still works well. To the tail are diamond lozenges, to one side this has been initialled 'MT'. These fish are associated with various uses from snuff to spices, but perhaps the most significant use was for cosmetics used in Hindu festivals and Sinduran during the wedding ceremony. This also fits with the Matsya being the fish incarnation of Vishnu. It is perhaps possible these fish were originally associated with religious practice, but like many other items their use expanded over time hence the multiple uses now associated.
No makers marks found and no further marks aside the initials to the tail lozenge. This is usual for these pieces. A nicely articulated example with split lower fins so it will stand unaided for display.
Normal age related wear as expected and signs of polishing over the years. Hinge and catch working fine.
Length: 18 cm ( 7 1/8 inch )
Weight: 74 grams (before packing)
Stock Code: 1386 SP18-6
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