Antique Lingam Casket, Shiva Lingam Container, Ayigalu, Silver Chain 64 cm (25″) 57.8 Grams
This is an Ovoid high grade Silver Lingam Casket (ayigalu or shivadhara) in the "round pot" shape. It has quite substantial weight for its size and hangs beautifully when wearing.
This is the most common type worn by Lingayat laypeople. Lingayats are easily distinguished from other Hindus because in most cases the lingam casket is visible on the body.
Caskets were once made of sandalwood or copper, which is considered to be a ritually pure metal among all Hindus. Today, the wealthier mercantile class uses silver, and those who can afford it use gold.
The top and bottom section is embellished with a round ball finial. The central sphere of the box is flanked by two projecting rectangular sides with conical lower sections- these also are embellished with round ball finals as well.
Lingam caskets carry a jangama lingam stone. There is not one with this Lingam Casket.
This is not the original chain but is a fine 2 mm - 25 1/2" (64 cm) acid tested 92.5% silver Indian snake chain that has been set in the two outer finials allowing the box to be suspended and slips over the head for wearing.
The Lingayats believe movable lingams to be the only true symbol of Shiva. All Lingayats carry their personal lingam with them at all times.
There are some marks and scratches commensurate with the extensive wear over the time. The lingam casket tested 90% silver approx.
Width: 6.2 cm (1 3/4")
Height: 5.15 cm (1 3/4")
Depth: 2.5 cm (1 ")
Chain: 64 cm (25 1/2")
Weight: 57.8 Grams (1.90 oz.)