This tray stand may have been used for the presentation of offerings at a Hindu altar. It includes a lotus flower and a mythical animal known as a vyala.
The vyala has the head and comb of a peacock and the body of a lion, and the antlers of a deer. While the lotus is a symbol of transcendence (or sacredness) the vyala is meant to protect sacred spaces, like a temple or shrine.
In the Hindu religion, the altar is the primary center of worship found in temples and homes. Prasad is an offering of food at an altar to a Hindu deity. Depending on the individual or family’s beliefs, offerings may include a sampling of vegetarian dishes, sweet rice, and fruits on a special plate along with a cup of water.
What offerings would you place on top of the Vyala Tray Stand? Flowers? Food? Your favorite things?