During my younger days, the monthly ritual in our family was that all children were required to take an oil bath. To begin with, my mother used to apply a fistful of coconut oil on the top of my head and keep on patting at the same spot chanting a variety of blessings. One blessing I still remember is “Nuvvu F.A. inka B.A. pass ayyi Collector avvali” meaning that I should pass F.A. (Fellow of Arts) and B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) and become a Collector. I did pass F.A. and B.A. but did not become a District Collector. Instead, I became an ‘Antique Collector’. Then she used to put a few drops of oil in both the ears and rub vigorously at the openings of the ears. After massaging the head, she then used to work on the body by applying Til oil all over my body with her palm and used to give a nice massage till the entire oil was absorbed by the skin and body.
Next, she used to apply a paste of what is called Nalugu Pindi (rubbing mixture), a combination of Chana dal powder and rice flour mixed with water. This is a basic version of Nalugu Pindi. Some people add various varieties of herbal powders to Nalugu Pindi for medicinal benefits for the skin and also for an exotic feeling. Then she used to rub this paste on the body with her palm till the semi-dry Nalugu Pindi separated from the body and fell on the ground in droppings of different formations once the skin had absorbed the oils from it. The rubbings used to take away all the dirt from the skin leaving it shiny. Then she used to wash the hair with Kunkudukaya (soap nut) juice and clean the hair with hot water.
This was followed by washing the body with hot water followed by drying the hair and skin by another round of rubbing with the towel. In Ayurveda, they call this method of oil bath Abhyangana Snana. My monthly ritual of oil bath continued till I left my home for further studies. She used a brass cup to keep the massage oil and she used to call this vessel Noone Ginne. I have been nostalgic about my ritual oil bath and my mother’s chanting of blessings and the brass vessel she was using to keep the oil. Driven by my fond memories, I started looking for the brass oil cups for collection and I have managed to collect some of the antique ‘Brass Massage Oil Cups’. I hope you enjoy viewing and reading about these wonderful art works with the same passion as I collected them. The same oil bath ritual was also performed by my mother for all important festivals like Sankranthi, Dusshera, Deepavali, Ugadi etc.
Oil bath is an integral part of the Hindu ritual bath that is a mandatory for most of the festivals and important religious ceremonies. Providing an oil bath to the important guests of the home is also a part of exhibiting hospitality to the guest. My sister and brother-in-law used to come to our house for most of the festivals but invariably for Sankranthi festival. In our village Someswaram, we used to have a barber who is also adept in providing oil bath. We used to book him in advance for giving oil bath to my brother-in-law on the festival day as a starting point for festival celebrations. Ceremonial oil bath is also given to the bride and bridegroom before the pooja for the marriage function. Kerala is famous for Ayurveda treatment using body massage with herbal oils as a medium of treatment. They use beautiful varieties of brass and Panchaloha vessels as containers to hold oil for massage.
Antique Brass Massage Oil Cup with Horizontal Handle
The dimensions of this oil cup are: Length – 9.0”, Height – 2.5”, Cup Diameter – 3.3”
This cup has an ingenious design with horizontal handle attached to the side. The handle also is resting on its own base giving more stability to the cup. Since the cup will be filled up with oil, the horizontal handle will help to carry the cup securely to wherever it is required without spilling oil. This is due to the horizontal handle which facilitates holding by the palm and the five fingers with a strong hold. If there were to be a single cup without any handle, the cup could be held only with the tip of the fingers from the rim giving a chance of slippage due to slippery oil.
The single cup has a single base to rest on the ground but this cup with the handle has two bases so that there is a strong footage on the ground. The handle itself is designed in a shape resembling a cup with the vertical handle. This handle with few sharp curves is designed to have a longer surface for stronger grip. A smooth handle may slip due to greasy oil. The designer of this cup has taken all the care to ensure that the oil in the cup is absolutely secure against tilting and slippage due to handling. The cup has a very wide mouth so that the oil can be taken out for use comfortably with the fingers without touching the cup. Thus, this cup’s architecture is designed keeping in view both functionality and beauty.
Antique Brass Massage Oil Cup with Vertical Handle and Carvings
The dimensions of this beautiful oil cup are: Height – 5.4”, Cup Diameter – 4.2”, Base diameter – 2.5”
This cup has an enchanting design with a round base with carvings, long cylindrical and vertical handle with a grip ring in the centre. At the top of the handle is a marvellously shaped cup with a rim. There are intricate carvings on the entire body of the cup. The cup has a wide open mouth to facilitated easy usage of the oil usually taken by fingers. The rim helps for a smooth flow of oil when drained out for usage or transfer of oil to another container. The rim also serves the purpose of grip.
The marvellous carvings on the cup serve two purposes. One, this gives an excellent aesthetic look and grace to the cup. Secondly, the uneven surface created by the carvings gives a natural grip against slippery surface by creating mini vacuum centres.
Antique Brass Massage Oil Cup with Vertical Handle
The dimensions of this magnificently designed cup are: Height – 4.4”, Cup Diameter – 4.5”, Base Diameter – 3.0”
This well-proportioned cup has a solid base, short curvaceous vertical handle with a slip ring at the centre. On the top of the handle is an elegant cup that has a smooth silky finish, wide open mouth with an inside curved solid rim. The significance of the curved rim is to generate a gap between the body of the cup and the rim to facilitated groovy space for the fingers to get into a strong grip of the oil pot if one chose to hold the cup by the rim. The vertical handle has a slip-proof design with a slip ring for a firm grip. The opening of the cup mouth is larger than the height of the cup for a better stability with gravity advantage. Wide mouth of the cup is also helpful in taking out the oil with fingers for application.