The urli is a uniquely Indian item of home and space decor. It comprises a wide-mouthed shallow-bottomed vessel, designed such as to be filled with water, which is then strewn with the petals of freshly plucked flowers. It not only pervades the air around it with a sweet, natural scent, but also makes for a superbly pleasing sight. A fine example of the Indian aesthetic tradition, this simple and intuitive technology is found in many Indian homes even today.
The urli that you see on this page is a particularly ornate one. The vessel has a sharply curving silhouette, which must have taken a great deal of skill to make. It balances on three identical legs which are designed to resemble thick, upward-curving sprigs of vine. At the frontal midpoint of the urli is a superb, perfectly symmetrical arrangement of vine, which features a flower at the centre. The most striking aspect of this composition, however, is Lord Ganesha swinging right above where the flowers are supposed to be.
A pair of pillars rises from the mouth of the urli on either side of the diameter. A pair of peacocks clings to the top of each pillar. A flattened sprig of vine joins the heads of the pillars. On either of its edges is a peacock with a tiny, single-wick lamp tray jutting out from its breast. Peacocks and vines at the centre, from beneath which dangles the swing. Seated in lalitasana upon it is the chaturbhujadhari Lord Ganesha, sculpted in remarkable and lifelike detail.
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