An Indian Copper Ritual Vessle: Yoni
ca. late twentieth century
4" x 7" x 13 1/2", 10 cm x 17.75 cm x 34.5 cm
This elegant, hand made copper vessel is used in rituals during Hindu pujas, the puja being the prescribed, worship ceremony of a god or goddess. Often a puja is done with the intention to benefit the good of a person, a family or the greater good of mankind. This copper vessel would have been filled with water and held in the hand (the middle finger resting into the center “dimple” for balance) and the image or murthi of the god or goddess would be bathed. Prayers would be uttered as the idol is being worshiped.
The form of these vessels is that of the yoni, a cosmic symbol of the goddess in the form of the female generative organ–in Hindu thought this stylized vulva form is meant to represent the flowing forth of universal life in all of its creative manifestations, both spiritual and material. The yoni is often seen in combination with the lingam, the primordial symbol of Lord Shiva represented as a phallus, so you see that the unified yoni lingam demonstrates the unification of male and female energies.
This copper vessel is beautifully formed and patinated, and is hand made from a heavy gauge copper. Here is another view of this yoni.
Its size is good and its curved form extremely sophisticated. This is a beguiling and beautiful object, and one whose use extends back countless centuries.