Doorway of Syrian Christian House

This is a very fine example of architecture from the Kerala region, and is rare because of its clear association with the Syrian Christian community.The Syrian Christians, also known as Nasrani, are one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, tracing their conversion back to the arrival of St Thomas at Muziris in Kerala in 52 AD. The lintel of the doorway bears a carving of the St Thomas Cross or Mar Thoma Sliba, which is an important symbol of the faith for Syrian Christians. The Syrian Christian community is culturally Malayalee and follow many of the same traditions regarding clothing, food and architecture. The doorway is typical of domestic architecture from the region. Two high steps which would have led up from the entrance platform are part of the door, and an intact manichithrathazhu or ornate Kerala-style lock made of brass adorns the front of the door. The low height of the doors would have necessitated a bending, or bowing down before entering the household. This is a common feature in Kerala architecture, and can be linked to the similarities to temple architecture from the region, where the person seeking to enter has to bow respectfully before entering into the sacred space.

Date/Period
20th century
Region
Kerala, India
Dimension
Gross Measurement: 228.2 x 108.5 x 55.0
Accession No.
2016-00228
Material
Wood and metal
Collection of
Indian Heritage Centre
Category
Furniture