Money collecting box "Kāmadhenu"


Southern India, early 20th century, private collection from Netherlands.

In Hinduism, cows are thought to be sacred, or deeply respected. In ancient Hindu texts, the cow appears as Kāmadhenu, or the divine cow, which fulfils all desires. Its horns symbolize the gods, its four legs, the ancient Hindu scriptures or the "Vedas" and its udder, the four objectives of life, including material wealth, desire, righteousness and salvation. The cow has also been associated with other deities, such notable Shiva (whose steed is a bull, Nandi), Indra (closely associated with Kāmadhenu), Krishna (a cowherd in his youth). Cows are seen as a "caregiver" or maternal figure. One Hindu goddess, Bhoomi, is usually shown in the form of a cow. She represents the Earth. Most Hindus respect cows for their gentle nature, and cows also represent strength. Hindus who eat meat will avoid eating beef. In the Hindu tradition, cows are honored, garlanded and given special feedings at festivals all over India. One is the annual Gopastami festival, dedicated to Krishna and cows.

These enchanting lockable tin donation boxes are more commonly found in the vicinity of Hindu temples. Originating from Southern India and used for collection of money to assist with the welfare of local sacred cows. Made from tin with a charming hand painted image of cow with Sanskrit text, thought to bring good luck to the donor. Wonderful patina. Good condition. Age-related wear and signs of use over many years. Rust, faded colours, abrasion, dints and knocks. Size approx. 15,5cm x 11,0cm x 6,5cm. Weight c. 458g.