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Kidaram – Large Brass Water Storage Pot

Kidaram, the huge brass water storage pot on pedestal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This large brass storage pot is known as Kidaram in Tamil language. Kidaram is used for storage of water in the area known as Chettinadu in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Chettinadu is a dry area and in the olden days where corporation water supply was not available through the running pipelines, people used to depend on rain water for drinking purpose. Rain water used to be collected in a large vessel with wide open mouth placed directly under the sky to capture as much water as possible and then the collected water would be transferred to kidaram for storage.

Usage Of Kidaram For Fetching And Storage Of Water

There is another method for collection of rain water for drinking purpose. Chettinadu houses are designed to have large courtyards open to sky within their huge houses. The openings have a sloping roof from all four sides and rain water would pour down into the floor of the courtyards. By this design of the house, the Chettinadu people used to have rain water pouring down into their own houses. The flowing water from the roof used to be collected into the kidaram directly after filtering the water through clean white veshti (dhoti or pancha) or white saree traditionally worn by elderly widows. The old photo albums of Chettiyar’s marriage functions reveal the use of these large kidarams mounted on the traditional bullock carts to bring water from the local temple tank called ‘Oorani for cooking feast for the guests.

The circumference of the huge brass pot is 8 feet 4 inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Design Of Kidaram

The storage pot has a huge belly to enable preserving large quantity of water with a narrow neck to prevent spillage or evaporation of the water. This pot shown in the picture has belly circumference (perimeter) of 8.4 feet and looks really huge. The height is 3 feet 10 inches with pedestal and 3 feet 4 inches without pedestal. The bottom circumference is 6 feet 7 inches. The base of the neck is 11 inches in diameter and the opening of the neck is 1 feet 2 inches in diameter. The rings of both sides of the neck are 5 and ½ inches each. The height of the lid is 6 inches. The huge pot weighs 40 kilos without the pedestal. It has to be carried by two people at least and is normally transported by inserting a long bamboo pole through the two rings and each person shouldering the each end of the pole.

The height of the huge water pot is 3 feet 10 inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kidaram is the largest of all variety of vessels used in Chettinadu homes. This huge vessel matches with the gigantic scale of the architecture of the houses. Kidaram is used as a water harvesting device along with the sloping roof and open courtyards which facilitate the rain water to flow into the house. An excellent and ingenious design invented by Nagarathar to harvest water in the drought prone Chettinadu. These beautiful kidarams would normally decorate the four corners of the ‘Mutram,’ another name for open courtyard. If not four, at least one kidaram will be in one corner containing drinking water. The height of the kidarams varies between 3 to 7 feet. The kidarams are made out of either copper or brass. Though copper kidarams are costly, they preserve the purity of water for more than 6 months. That is the magic of the copper. It is interesting to note that the lid to this giant vessel comes in the shape of a roof of a hut.

Kidaram without pedestal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An angled view of kidaram with large belly, narrow neck and a lid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top view of the kidaram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Admire the hand made ring of 5.4 inches diameter riveted to the neck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lid of the kidaram in the shape of the roof of a hut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Colour Of The Kidaram

The colour of the vessel looks brownish green because of  formation of patina on the surface of the brass vessel due to age. According to my estimate it should be 150 years to 200 years old  belonging to early 1860s. It is natural that a thin protective layer forms on the surface of aged brass or copper items and this layer is called ‘patina’ which will be brownish green initially and turns into beautiful green colour as per the age of the exposed metal.

The best example of patina is the famous Statue of Liberty, the colossal sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City, in the United States which is made out of copper. Instead of the original copper colour of pinkish brown, it looks greenish due to formation of patina over the 130 years of exposure to nature. It was commissioned in the year  1886 and is nearly 130 years old.

Statue of Liberty, made with copper metal, appearing in green colour due to formation of patina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is patina?

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Patina (/ˈpætɨnə/ or /pəˈtiːnə/) is a thin layer that variously forms on the surface of stone; on copper, bronze and similar metals (tarnish produced by oxidation or other chemical processes); on wooden furniture (sheen produced by age, wear, and polishing); or any such acquired change of a surface through age and exposure. Patinas can provide a protective covering to materials that would otherwise be damaged by corrosion or weathering. They may also be aesthetically appealing.”

Antique lovers, particularly from the west, love their antiques with the original patina formation. Patina gives a beautiful brownish green colour to the metallic objects and is aesthetically appealing. Some people prefer their antiques cleaned thoroughly of the patina to reveal the original color of the object when it was made. Archaeologists find out the age of the object by analyzing the patina.

How I Collected This Wonderful Brass Pot

During one of my trips in search of antiques, I happened to see this beauty in an antique shop in Karaikudi town in Chettinadu. It looked stunningly beautiful and my instinct prompted me to possess it. After the initial inquiries with the shop owner, I realized it is beyond my reach to buy the piece. I kept on dreaming about it. In one of my conversations, I mentioned to my friend Mr Jana Balasubramaniam, an investor by profession and Co-founder and Director in a company, whom we affectionately call Jana, about my visit to Karaikudi and my interest in antiques. He told me to inform him if I visit Karaikudi again and that he would make arrangements for my antique hunting. I did so when I planned to have a second visit.

 Jana introduced me to Mr Muralidharan, a native of Karaikudi and a well-known professional. Here I must say that Mr Muralidharan is an excellent host and he personally accompanied me to the antique shops. I confessed to him my desire to own the huge brass water storage pot if I get it within my budget. It was a pleasant surprise to me that the shop owner greeted Mr Muralidharan with respect in the local Tamil language and enquired about the purpose of his visit to his shop. I later realized that being a local professional, most of the shop owners in the locality know him and he was well regarded. Mr Muralidharan managed to finalize the price within my budget including a stone pedestal to mount the huge pot (if the brass pot is not mounted on a stone or a wooden pedestal, there are chances of the base of the pot getting damaged),  packing, forwarding and transporting the vessel by road to reach Hyderabad where I reside. The pot was delivered to me in an excellent condition and now it occupies a prominent place in my house with every visitor admiring its regal elegance.

Mr Muralidharan with tha kidaram in the antique shop at Karaikudi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am grateful to Jana for his wonderful gesture of introducing me to Mr Muralidharan and for making excellent arrangements for my visit to Karaikudi. I am indebted to Mr Muralidharan for taking care of me so well and making it possible for me to own this grand vessel.

The Unique Architecture Of Chettiar Houses

Here I must say something about Chettinadu and Chettiar’s houses. Chettinadu is a hot and semi-arid region. The Chettinadu houses were designed  taking into consideration  the climate of the region. The materials for construction were selected accordingly to insulate and ventilate the houses. The central point of the houses were the courtyards facing east/west and the houses are built around the courtyards that bring in  light, sun, shade, air and rain to the house. Chetti is a short form of Chettiars, also known as Nagarathar, the trading  and finance business community in Tamil Nadu. Chettinadu means the region where Chettiars live. They are also called as ‘Nattu Kotai Chettiars’ meaning the Chettiars who live in the houses resembling mini forts or local forts. This entrepreneurial community developed their own architecture and town planning and their houses are unique in their size and design. The houses are huge mansions normally extending from one road to next parallel road. The front entrance door will start in one road and the backend exit door will be in the next parallel road.

A Chettinadu house with intricate wooden work on the roof

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The general design is that there will be a central courtyard with a high decorated roof surrounded on four sides by corridors supported by huge wooden pillars. From the corridors will be the entrance to the array of rooms for the family. There will be two or three courtyards in a typical house. The striking part of the houses is the highly carved wooden doors and windows .The houses are generally finished with special plaster made out of lime and the white of the egg, stucco work, terracotta tiled roofs, marble floors and Athangudi tiles that come in a myriad of colors and patterns, and stain glassed windows. The entrances of the houses are adorned with the icons of Gajalakhmi, Parvathi Parameswar and Meenakshi Sundereswar. The belief is that Gajalaksmi brings in wealth and prosperity and Shiva Parvathi couple brings in happy family life to the residents.

Top view of the kidaram without the lid
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Antique Brass Kindi: Lota With A Spout

 

 

 

 

Kindi is a type of Indian lota or chambu with a spout mostly used in kerala state, India, as a multipurpose vessel.It is used as a water dispenser for various pooja rituals and daily ablutions. Kindi like vessel with spout is also used in Andhra Pradesh and is called KommuChambu. Similar kindis are used in north India with a handle and is called kamandalam. The kindi is said to have existed since the dawn of the civilisation to store and carry water from place to place. The primitive kindi is made with clay and as the civilisation progressed, kindis are made with metals like brass, bronze, copper, silver and even gold and in various sizes. The smallest size one normally made either with silver or gold is used for ritual pooja and the larger ones generally made out of brass or bronze are used for daily ablutions.

I have collected 2 beautiful kindis as shown in the picture. The large kindi is made with brass and the small one with copper.

Brass kindi showing base, big belly, curved neck, wide mouth and a spout

 

 

The antique brass Kindi: This kindi has a wonderful shape with a bottom rim for support, a large bellyto hold water, a smoothly curved neck and a wide mouth on the top of the neck to receivethe water. There is a concave curved spout attached to the belly with a ring around the hole of the spout to protect the whole from accidental damage.The wide mouth has a sloping grip ring which is designed to carry the kindi with the five fingers. There is embossed ring around the base of the neck. There are parallel line designs around the large belly that arehandmade. The belly is filled up with water poured from the open mouth and water is dispensed through the hole of the spout. I have purchased this lovely kindi from RASI silk house, a reputed shop near Kapaleswara temple, Mylapore, Chennai, in the year 1994who used to sell rare antiques along with classical silk saris and dress material.

 

Copper kindi showing the base, small belly, straight neck, tapered mouth and the spout

 

The antique copper Kindi: This cute copper kindi has different design. It has a larger straight neck than the belly.The neck opening is flared at the top.There is a grip ring just below the flared neck opening. The  spout has a convex curve.There is an embossed ring joining the belly and the neck. This pretty copper kindi is gifted to me by my colleague from Kerala by name Subramani in the year 1984.I was told that his grandfather was using this kindi for pooja and abhishekam purpose.

The design of Kindi: The shape of the kindi is designed to minimise the wastage of water.The narrow spout opening will dispense water that is just required for the purpose like washing feet, hand and drinking without any spillage or loss. Its design is such that water will not get contaminated as the fingers will never touch the water when the kindi is used.

Brass kindi showing slip ring attached to the mouth and embossed ring joining belly and neck

 

The multiple uses of Kndi

VellaKindi:  VellaKindi is used for storing and drinking water. It is a common practice in traditional south Indian families few decades ago to keep a kindi filled with water at the entrance of the house on the first step. The traditional houses used to have in the front an elevated plat form on both sides of the steps leading to the entrance called Arugu in Telugu and Arukkanchatti in Malayalam. VellaKindi is placed on the first stepand the guest is expected to wash his feet, hands and face with the water from the kindi. Thereafter the guest would sit on the Arugu and drink the water from the protruding spout  of the same kindi. In certain communities like south Indian Brahmins, they practice a hygienic tradition called yengily in Telugu and Echai in Tamil in which the person while drinking water should not touch the vessel with his lips. If it touches the lips, the content of the vessel becomes impure for consumption by other person. Kindi is designed to beat this practice since the spout helps to take water from the vessel without touching the lips. Thus it is convenient to have multiple people have the water from the same kindi. Kindi is also used to clean the hands after taking the meals.

 

Copper kindi in inclined position

 

Copper kindi with top view

 

Pooja kindi: Pooja kindi is used for Hindu ceremonial prayer known as pooja. Kindi is a must in most of the communities in Kerala particularly in Namboodri and Nair communities. The kindi is used to perform abhishekam to idols by pouring water or milk on the deities through the spout of the kindi. The same kindi is used for giving theertam to devotees after the pooja. For achamanam ritual (drinking small quantities of water during pooja) people in the other regions use uddarini and panchapatram for using small quantity of water but kindi is used in place of Uddarini in kerala. Udharani is also used in the pooja ritual of Arghyam, and Sandhya. Uddarini is also used to distribute holy water as prasadam to devotees.

In Kerala, Kindi is an integral part of any religious ritual. It is a tradition in Nair families that the bride should bring one kindi along with the utensils she brings to her new family after the marriage. It is a traditional practice to gift the new bride with a set of seven vessels called Ezhupaatram comprising of the inevitable kindi, Kuthuvilakku (oil lamp), Thambalam, Kolambi(spittoon) and assorted plates in brass or bronze.

 

Brass kindi with rear side view notice the parallel line design on the belly

 

Brass kindi showing spout and spout hole

 

Brass kindi with top view- notice the wide mouth to pour in water and spout hole to dispense water out

 

The oil Kindi: Herbal oil is used during the Ayurvedic treatment for oil massages. Kindi is invariably used to pour the oil on the massaged body.The quantity of the oil required can be controlled by the movement of the wrist when pouring oil through the spout of the Kindi. Kindi is so convenient that the poring can be handled by one hand with precision while the second is used to spread the oil on the body.

Kindi for ceremonies: The Hindu marriage ceremony is actually called Kanyadanam, meaning gifting a virgin girl.The bride groom is considered as Maha Vishnu and the father of the bride gifts his daughter to the groom by washing his feet with water and giving a coconut to the groom as a symbol of giving his daughter.For washing the feet of the groom kindi is used as a tradition. In annual death ceremonies of the departed elders known as Shraddha, it is a tradition to use Kindi for washing the Brahmin’s feet that are considered as Devas and Pitrs.

The story of Sukracharya and kindi: There is a famous story in puranas depicting how Sukracharya, the guru of asuras, lost his eye due to blocking the hole of a kindi. Bali is a great asura king and he has conquered both the earth and the heavens and thrown Indra out from his kingdom of Devas. Indra prays to lord Vishnu to restore his kingdom. Lord Vishnu visits Bali in the form of a dwarf Brahmin called Vamana, asks for a boon of tripada (three feet lengh) of land and Bali grants the boon to Vishnu. It is a tradition that any boon granted should be accompanied with water as a witness to the granting. Sukracharya is against Bali granting boon to Vamana and hides himself in the hole of the spout of the Kindi to prevent water flowing out thus hampering the boon. Vamana takes a dharba grass and pierces the hole to dislodge Sukrachrya and in the process Sukracharya becomes blind in one eye. For complete story on Vamana and Bali and how Sukracharya lost his eye please read the article by clicking on the following link.

http://ykantiques.com/2013/08/antique-brass-and-copper-kamandalam.html

The evolution of Kindi: According to Vedic knowledge, the entire universe is the manifestation of panchabhuta in varying combinations dictated by cosmic laws. The panchabhuta, the five elements, are -earth, water, fire, air and ether. The panchabhuta are the basic elements that form the life force.Thus Hindus consider water as a basic life giving and sustaining force. Any element that is a life giving force should be pure and hence water is considered as pure and purifier.Water as a purifier has taken the vital role in all Hindu rituals and daily life. In India water is called Ganga devi elevating water to the divine status of goddess. Man from times immemorial has been creating vessels to carry the life giving water along with him to quench his thirst and to use for religious ceremonies. Starting from the earthen vessel, kindi has taken various forms of evolution and taken a central place in many of the houses few decades ago made out of Bell metal, brass, copper, silver and even gold.

Some attribute the origin of present Kindi to the cultural invasion by Arabs to the coast of Kerala in South India. They came to Kerala via sea route for trade and gradually settled in Kerala coast by marrying the locals.Now there exists a community called Mapalai literally meaning son-in-law who resemble Arabs and blended themselves into Malayali culture. It is a practice in Arab culture that they share food from common plate and drink water from a single jug. Indians use each separate plate for food coand separate vessel to drink water. One school of thought believes that it is Arabs who invented the Kindi. This vessel with a spout satisfied the cultural element of both societies in a way that water can be shared by all from the single vessel and at the same time the lips are not in contact with the water.

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Antique Brass Drinking Pots

Ancient Indian wisdom of storing water in brass vessels for healthy living is now proved to be a scientific fact. Extending the same habit, ancient Indians drank their water from brass pots. This culture was prevalent till the beginning of 20th century and that was when the stainless steel and plastic culture pushed out the use of brass as a medium of storing and drinking water. Modern world, enamoured by the comfort of stainless steel and the economic aspect of the plastic, had started using the vessels made out of both these materials. The wonderful art of making brass vessels in different shapes and sizes has slowly withered away and the beautiful and artistic brass drinking pots have gone out of everyday use and are now mostly available only with the collectors of these ancient treasures. I have managed to collect some of these magnificent antique Brass drinking pots and it gives me great pleasure to share these beauties with you.

Antique Brass Drinking Pots Arranged size-wise in a Row.
Antique Brass Drinking Pots Arranged size-wise in a Row.

I have grown up in the brass culture. In my child hood, everyone in our family including elders and children used to drink water from brass drinking pots or brass drinking lotas and brass tumblers. The elders used to drink from brass pots while the youngsters used to drink from brass tumblers since they are relatively lighter than the heavy brass pots. We also used to eat in bronze dining plates. My grandfather alone used to eat in a silver plate with a small patch of gold at the centre but invariably used to drink his water from a particular brass drinking pot which is exhibited in this article. The metal vessels in which the food is eaten and the water is taken actually form an integral part of the whole experience of serving and eating food. Along with the cooked food, my grandfather’s meal also consisted of microns of silver and gold absorbed by the hot rice served and brass microns from the drinking water. No one else in the family was allowed to use my grandfather’s drinking pot. Our elders used to call the brass drinking pots that of the size and shape shown in the pictures as Aapukara.

Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 6”, Width at Bottom 3.7”, Diameter & Width at the Belly 5.5”, Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.5”.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 6”, Width at Bottom 3.7”, Diameter & Width at the Belly 5.5”, Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.5”.


Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 6”, Width at Bottom 3.7” Diameter & Width at the Belly 5.5”, Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.5”.
Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 6”, Width at Bottom 3.7” Diameter & Width at the Belly 5.5”, Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.5”.

This is a magnificent piece of art work. My grandfather used to drink with this pot only. He lived for nearly 90 years and my mother used to tell me that he was using this for more than sixty years. This item is from our family’s collection and should be more than 100 years old.

Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 5”, Width at Bottom 3.2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 5”, Width at Bottom 3.2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.


Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 5”, Width at Bottom 3.2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 5”, Width at Bottom 3.2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.


Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.7”, Width at Bottom 3-2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.0” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.7”, Width at Bottom 3-2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.0” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.


Top-view Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.7”, Width at Bottom 3-2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.0” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Top-view Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.7”, Width at Bottom 3-2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.0” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.


Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.5”, Width at Bottom 3-3” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.8” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.3” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.5”, Width at Bottom 3-3” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.8” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.3” Diameter.


Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.5”, Width at Bottom 3-3” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.8” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.3” Diameter.
Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.5”, Width at Bottom 3-3” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.8” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.3” Diameter.


Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.3”, Width at Bottom 3-0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.2” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.3”, Width at Bottom 3-0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.2” Diameter.


Top-view Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.3”, Width at Bottom 3-0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.2” Diameter.
Top-view Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.3”, Width at Bottom 3-0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.2” Diameter.


Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 3.2”, Width at Bottom 2.5” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.4” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 3.2”, Width at Bottom 2.5” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.4” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.


Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 3.2”, Width at Bottom 2.5” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.4” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 3.2”, Width at Bottom 2.5” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.4” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.

This pot is made out of bronze, otherwise known as gunmetal. This pot stands on 3 supports fixed to the base of the pot unlike the rim on which the pot sits in other varieties of the brass drinking pots. It is also peculiar that the belly is not so prominent when compared to the traditional drinking pots whereas the neck is wide with thin rim like in a tumbler.

Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 2.7”, Width at Bottom 2.0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 2.2” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 2.7”, Width at Bottom 2.0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 2.2” Diameter.


Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 2.7”, Width at Bottom 2.0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 2.2” Diameter.
Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 2.7”, Width at Bottom 2.0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 2.2” Diameter.

This is a beautiful and cute drinking pot. The belly is much larger compared to its height. The bottom rim and the rim of the mouth are almost equal. It has a beautiful design engraved on the body but you would now notice that it has faded due to usage through decades and antiquity. This item was gifted to me by my cousin sister Narasu who always supported me in my quest for collecting antiques.

The Design of the Brass Drinking Pots

These drinking pots are made with brass casting technique.

These pots have a perfectly balanced shape and proportion. The diameter of the bottom end and the mouth end is almost same with a bulging belly that beautifully tapers to a neck and finally opens up to a mouth with a rim. The design has soft flowing curves with the fine smooth finish.

The designer has designed the pot so beautifully that its base sits on the ground perfectly, the middle part with big belly shape holds a good amount of water and the smooth tapering neck takes the water gently to the opening (mouth) and the rim of the mouth facilitates ease of flow of water into the mouth of the drinker.

Hindu Priest Using Antique Brass Pot for Drinking Water.
Hindu Priest Using Antique Brass Pot for Drinking Water.

The neck of the pot is designed in such a way that it snugly fits into the grip of the hand when clenched between the palm and fingers.

The entire shape is aesthetically pleasing and functionally convenient.

The Most Popular Design in the 19th Century

This design of the brass drinking pots was very popular in that era. The same design was used not only for brass metal works but also for wood works, buildings, and other decorative aspects. I also have a Victorian style antique cot with canopy in my collection. The legs of the cot have a design exactly similar to that of the antique brass drinking pot.

Long View of Similar Design of Brass Drinking Pot on the Antique Canopy Cot.
Long View of Similar Design of Brass Drinking Pot on the Antique Canopy Cot.


Close-up view of Identical Design on the Wood Cot and the Brass Drinking Pot.
Close-up view of Identical Design on the Wood Cot and the Brass Drinking Pot.

The same design in a larger size was used to make an earthen pot for drinking water purpose called Cooja in India. Any design similar to Cooja is called a “Cooja design” in India.

The parapet walls of the terrace of the vintage buildings were also decorated with the similar design but in a slightly elongated style called Cooja design.

The Health Aspect of Drinking Water from Brass Pots or Brass Lota

On a recent trip to India, Reed, a microbiologist at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, witnessed villagers doing exactly this.

Reed, with his colleagues Puja Tandon and Sanjay Chhibber, carried out two series of experiments. In Britain, the researchers filled brass and earthenware vessels with a diluted culture of Escherichia coli bacteria, which can cause illnesses such as dysentery. They then counted the surviving bacteria after 6, 24, and 48 hours. A similar test was carried out in India using naturally contaminated water.

Antique Brass Drinking Pot Used for Drink Water at the Meal Time Decades Ago.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot Used for Drink Water at the Meal Time Decades Ago.

The amount of live E. coli in the brass vessels dropped dramatically over time, and after 48 hours they fell to undetectable levels, Reed told the Society for General Microbiology’s meeting this week in Edinburgh, UK.

You can read more information about the experiments conducted on the effect of brass on bacteria in the article here.

I have also written an article on “Ganga Water Lota” which provides some more information on Brass and Copper lotas. A lota is similar to a pot but it differs in shape. The article can be read here.