The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 4, 2024

Ewer with Spout in the Form of an Elephant with a Mahut

Ewer with Spout in the Form of an Elephant with a Mahut

1–100 CE
Overall: 21 cm (8 1/4 in.); Diameter of base: 6.4 cm (2 1/2 in.)
Location: not on view

Description

This bulbous-shaped ewer with a low foot, narrow neck, and a loop handle attached to the top of the neck is cast in one piece. The neck, with an overhanging rim that widens at the mouth, is decorated with moldings at the bottom and in the center. The loop handle is octagonal in cross-section. Most interesting is the spout in the form of an elephant's head with a raised trunk and a mahout seated on its neck. The costume and turban worn by the rider are Kusana, while the elephant is indigenous to the region. Similar vessel shapes are commonly found in the Hellenistic world around the time of the Christian era; therefore, it is not surprising to find them within the sphere of Gandharan influence, which took its inspiration from the classical West. Among Sir John Marshall's excavations in Taxila, vessels of this type were found. Marshall suggested that the ewer with a loop handle at the top belongs to the category of traditional Indian vessels, while one with the handle on the side follows Greco-Roman prototypes. Similarly, the metal ewers excavated by Marshall were found in later strata in Sirkap and date to the first century AD, or even earlier. However, the earlier type seems to be the one with the vertical spout, so that the type of spout represented here probably dates later, around the first century AD. Furthermore, the elephant spout with Kusana rider suggests a date no earlier than the first century AD. A gold spout in the form of an elephant's head, originally attached to a glass vessel, was found in Begram and is presently at the Kabul Museum. The ewer was damaged when acquired. There were two irregular holes located on the globular sides of the vessel, just below the neck, with surrounding cracks. Although the holes were not very large, the damage was visually disturbing and prompted the restoration. The bottom of the ewer, now missing, was left as is, with no attempt to restore it.
  • ?–1982
    (Ulrich von Schroeder [b. 1943], Zürich, Switzerland, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    1982–
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Lee, Sherman E. "Year in Review for 1982." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 70, no. 1 (1983): 3-55. Mentioned: no. 102, p. 54; Reproduced: no. 102, p. 27 www.jstor.org
    Czuma, Stanislaw J., and Rekha Morris. Kushan Sculpture: Images from Early India. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art in cooperation with Indiana University Press, 1985. Mentioned and Reproduced: cat. no. 86, p. 171
    Sengupta, Arputha Rani. Buddhist Jewels in Mortuary Cult: Magic Symbols. Delhi: Agam Kala Prakashan, 2019. Reproduced: Vol. 1, p. 149, fig. 3.49; mentioned: Vol. 1, p. 151
  • The Year in Review for 1982. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (January 5-February 6, 1983).
    Kushan Sculpture: Images from Early India. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (November 13, 1985-January 5, 1986).
  • {{cite web|title=Ewer with Spout in the Form of an Elephant with a Mahut|url=false|author=|year=1–100 CE|access-date=04 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

Source URL:

https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1982.66