Pair of Indian Bronze Palanquin Leopard Finials

  • This pair of Indian bronze palanquin finials take the form of protective leopards
  • Palanquin, or palki, are litter-type conveyances that have been used in India for centuries
  • The finials took the form of flowers, animals and even mythological creatures
  • Several important museum collections house similar palanquin finials
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 30-6265

To speak to one of our experts, call 1-888-711-8084

Crafted in the form of protective leopards bearing their teeth, this exceptional pair of bronze palanquin finials were used to adorn the pole ends of the palanquin or palki. These litter-type modes of transportation have been in use in India for centuries and required 2 to 4 pairs of bearers to carry them.

The word “palanquin” is derived from the Sanskrit “palanki” meaning “bed” or “couch”. These lushly covered conveyances were intended to be carried by four to eight bearers known as “behara”, “dulia”, “boyee” or “behara” depending on the region. The interiors were furnished with specialized bedding materials, including pillows to provide the utmost comfort while traveling. Though the earliest mention of palanquin dates to the 3rd century BCE in the epic poem Ramayana, the height of usage occurred during the Mughal era from the 16th through 19th centuries. It wasn't until the advent of railways and roadways that could accommodate wheeled modes of transportation that the use of palanquin fell out of favor. Today, these bygone conveyances are used in ceremonies such as weddings. 

The ornamentation and complexity palanquin was directly related to social status. The finals also abided by this convention, but these adornments also reflected whether the owner was male or female. Flowers, particularly lotuses, and birds were the typical forms found on women’s palanquin, while those for men often featured fierce animals and creatures from Indian mythology and folklore.

Similar palanquin finials can be found in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Heritage Transport Museum in Taoru, India has an entire exhibit devoted to palanquin with varied finials on display.

18th Century

7" length x 4" wide x 3 3/4" high
Pair of Indian Bronze Palanquin Leopard Finials
Period: 18th Century
Origin: Asia
Type: Historical Memorabilia
Depth: 7.0 Inches
Length: 7
Width: 4.0 Inches
Height: 3.75 Inches

Recently Viewed

Back to Top
back to top

Shopping Bag

Your shopping bag is currently empty.