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Dating Methods

By its very nature Indian bronze iconography is a massive subject. There are literally thousands of reasons a piece is what it is, as old as it is etc. There are very few people in the world who have, or who would bold enough to claim, complete knowledge in the subject.

We have been collecting and studying Indian bronze icons for many years. Over the years we have gained a fairly good knowledge and have the fortune to know many other individuals who also have good knowledge. With all this information to hand we are fairly confident that the information we offer on a piece is as accurate as possible. We will not assume a piece to be older if we have no reason to support this with some strong factors. Any date we set on a piece is done with a degree of confidence, a little debate between ourselves and the advice of others.

Indian bronzes have been cast for many centuries and throughout these centuries strict rules have been adhered to by the artisans that cast the icons. They follow rules without question and do not deviate from them. A certain amount of 'artistic licence' is allowed but certain rules can not be broken, such as the distance between the hip and the arm on a Bhudevi or Shridevi, that they are shown in tribhanga (3 bends to the body) or the attributes they hold. Based on the method used, the subject cast and the detail applied (amongst other factors that are taken into consideration) it is possible to narrow the dating of a piece to within an acceptable time period.

Each piece is dated to a century wherever possible. When we are in doubt about which century we will use both centuries for guidance.

For example we may date a piece 19C, this means we are confident that the piece dates from the 19th century but can not say with confidence which part of the 19th century it came from. When we can be confident we will date them E19c, M19c or L19c, meaning early, mid and late resepectively. Early means 01-30 years, mid means 31-60 years and late means 61 to 99 years. We have found this method works well. Other people may choose a different method but that is a personal choice for them. If we unable to date a piece to a specific century we will advise of this by using L18c/E19c which would date a piece from 1761 to 1830.

We do not deal in fake or replication pieces. We only buy pieces that we personally would be prepared to spend out hard earned money on! As a purchaser you can be sure that we have done everything within our capability of selecting, dating and pricing only genuine pieces.