EL KHAMSA

Arabian horses have played a great role in Goa’s history. Goa was the main emporium of the horse trade and, almost 50% of the State’s revenue was earned through the horse trade in medieval times. Arabian horses were in great demand for the cavalries of Indian princely states. Those who controlled the horse trade were in a position to exert considerable political pressures. The Vijaynagar Empire was the main purchaser of horses from the Portuguese. They had a contract to buy all the horses imported into Goa by the Portuguese traders. Vijaynagar also paid for the horses that died during the voyage across the Arabian Sea. The merchants had to produce the tails of the dead horses to claim compensation. There is a story connected with Prophet Mohammad. He was a lover of horses. One day after the day’s work He commanded his horses to drink water from an oasis. The horses ran towards the water. Just before they could start drinking, he blew his trumpet and summoned them back. Only Five horses obeyed their master. The Arabs believe that these five horses are the ancestors of the great Arabian breed of horses. El Khamsa in Arabic means ‘The Five’. My work is a large horseshoe in wood with textures resembling pepper with the word El Khamsa carved on it.