I finally found a nice, fairly priced, old urli with a good patina and solid bell-metal ring to it. I am (almost) over the one I let slip thru my hands in the Coonoor antique store. (I didn’t buy it and it’s haunted me ever since.)
An urli is a shallow, bell metal bowl typically used for cooking on an open fire (still used today for cooking up food for big festivals & wedding, especially in South India). They range in size from a diameter of few inches to 6 feet or more. You can get shiny new ones made of brass that are purely decorative (not for cooking), but I wanted something traditional & with character. It became a quest.
My urli is about 18″ wide with charcoal staining around the bottom to evidence its past use for cooking. (Or it’s well faked, but I’m choosing to be optimistic.) I’ve floated some Gerber daisy and rose petals; next time I need more flowers and petals!
This — a giant urli in a hotel lobby– is the sort of flower pattern I aspire to one day (on a smaller scale):