A SRI LANKAN IVORY COMB
Kotte, late 16th century
In the middle of the comb is carved in relief Vishnu as Ksheera Sagara (the ocean
of milk), one of his abode’s in the material world, reclining and resting on Shesha (Anantasayana, the king of serpent deities, the immortal and infinite snake, commonly shown with a thousand heads), and below three avatars, manifestations of Vishnu.
H. 10 x W. 9 cm
In Ceylon, high ranking women wore these combs as an ornament. After their first-night men presented their wife with a comb as a token of esteem and love.
For a similar comb see: Elfenbein aus Ceylon, Luxusgüter für Katharina von Habsburg (1507-1578), Museum Rietberg, pg. 89.