Vintage Shiva Lingam Container, Chauka, South India, Ayigalu,134Gms, 68cm(27″) Chain
This is a vintage and rare form of a "Saddle" high grade silver Shiva Lingam Casket.
Lingayats are easily distinguished from other Hindus because in most cases the lingam casket is visible on the body. Lingam caskets are worn by men and women over the should to one side, or hanging from the neck as a standard necklace. Cultivators wear it wrapped in a cloth tied around the neck.
(I have included some very old photos demonstrating the way in which the Lingam caskets were worn.)
The container is designed to hold the sacred lingam stone which is used as a meditation device to allow the worshiper to concentrate on Shiva. In daily worship, the lingam stone is removed from its casket and placed upright in the left palm with the indented dot facing the worshiper who pours a water or milk libation over it with the right hand while reciting appropriate mantras.
The lingam cakeket is called a chauka in reference to its rectangular shape, embellished with filigree, applied floral units and motifs. The bull Nandi is Shiva's primary vehicle who serves as the mount of Shiva. Nandi is adorned and decorated with a saddle. The ends of the box contain two round projecting tubes - suggesting stylized bulls horns from Nandi.
The south Indian high grade silver half round wire links chain is a lot older than the casket, and is a beautifully made heavy chain. 27" (68 cm). A chain of this quality on its own has quite some value.
Width: 10 cm (4")
Height: 5 cm (2")
Depth: 3.5 cm (1 1/4")
Chain: 68 cm (27")
Chain Weight approx: 40 Grams (1.41 oz.)
Casket Weight approx: 94 Grams (3.35 oz.)
Total Weight: 134 Grams (4.72 oz.)
Material: Tested High Grade Silver 92.5% (Marked 925)