Water is sacred to every culture. This is why vessels made specially for the purpose of containing water carry tones of celebration or reverence. In Sri Lanka, Kataragama water-cutting ritual (diya kepīma) is a celebration of divinity, passion and sensuality.
“The fortnight's pageant culminates with the ritual of water-cutting, which people believe commemorates the washing of the deity's clothes worn during the divine act of sexual intercourse. (Originally the rite was intended to control the element of water in the environment). After the water-cutting the assembled throng let themselves go. They sport in the water (diya keliya) and splash themselves and each other, and there is a cathartic and exuberant display of emotion,” explained J.B. Disanayaka (1992, From Water in Culture: The Sri Lankan Heritage. Ministry of Environment & Parliamentary Affairs, Colombo)
This ritual would have an entire section of Menik River, or the channel of gems, exploding in the laughter and play of men and women splashing in the water. Some would lay down in the flowing waters, prostrating in reverence. After this exuberant ritual, many of them would obtain a vessel full of this sacred water to take home with them.
The origins and age of this solid brass ritual water vessel are unknown. The shapes, the use of three feet, and thick handles have parallels to Deccan brassware. However, the swan motif bears resemblance to typical Sri Lankan brass craftsmanship.
Jala: brass ritual vessel
10" H x 7.5" W