Lovers in a Pavillion
Indian Tamil Nadu; Karnataka, Lovers in a Pavillion, 17th century, Carved ivory panel; 17.8 x 13.7 x 0.8 cm (7 x 5 3/8 x 5/16 inches) DDG July 2007, Helen M. Danforth Acquisition Fund 82.038
Indian manufacture of luxury goods in ivory began at least as early as the first centuries of the first millennium. Later, during the Nayaka period following the disintegration of the Vijayanagar Empire in the late sixteenth century, commissioned works in ivory became popular among royal and courtly patrons. This fine relief panel of lovers in a pavilion was among several that once decorated a door. The holes in the panel were used to pin it to its wooden support. The affectionate couple is intricately carved in shallow relief. Depictions of mortal and celestial lovers were common in temples and may allude to fertility.