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HOME : Asian Art : Art of India : Gujarati Stone Pestle and Mortar
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Gujarati Stone Pestle and Mortar - CK.0041
Origin: Western India
Circa: 18 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 3.375" (8.6cm) high x 5.625" (14.3cm) wide x 9.25" (23.5cm) depth
Collection: Asian
Medium: Stone

Location: United States
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Today, Gujarat is the westernmost state in the modern nation of India. However, historically, it has a long and rich history. Situated on the Arabian Sea, Gujarat has been one of the major commercial centers of the Subcontinent throughout its history, from many millennia ago during the Indus Valley Civilization up to the British Colonial period and beyond into our own era. The ancient ports of Gujarat, most prominent among them being the city of Lothal, had extensive trading networks that stretched to far away foreign lands, such as Sumer in modern Iraq. Successive waves of immigration have shaped the culture and history of Gujarat, from the arrival of the Aryans, the spread of Hindu kingdoms during the Gupta era, the introduction of Islam by the Muslim traders in the 7th century, and an influx of Zoroastrians fleeing the Islamic conquest of Persia. Following the invasion of these lands two centuries later by the Muslim Ghaznavids, Islam became a major political force, as Gujarat was later incorporated into the Dehli Sultanate, followed by a period of independence as the Gujarat Sultanate before eventually being annexed by the Mughal Empire in 1576. The arrival of the Portuguese in the 17th century signaled a period of European influence and domination under the Bombay Presidency, the colonial authority established by the British. Gujarat also played an important role in the Indian independence movement as the birthplace of many prominent leaders, including Mohandas Gandhi and Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

While mortars and pestles are traditionally used to grind spices for culinary preparation, certain features of this set suggest it was used for ceremonial purposes. An inscription in the Gujarati script graces one of the sides. It is possible that this inscription is a quote from a Vedic text, the Rigveda in particular, an ancient Hindu sacred text. - (CK.0041)


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