AN Indian maharaja has unveiled a piece of art for people in the North-East.

Ranjitsinh Gaekwad, who is the Maharaja of Baroda, was commissioned by Durham University to design and create the sculpture in the city’s Botanic Garden, in Hollingside Lane.

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Vessels of Life was inspired by the university’s Institute of Advanced Study’s water theme and captures the maharaja’s concerns over mankind’s wastefulness of water.

He said: “In India we have every type of problem that can be associated with water, from drought to flooding.

“The creatures represented on the sculpture are all in danger of extinction. They rely on water for their existence and humans need to be aware that they have a responsibility to preserve water not only for themselves but for all creatures on this planet.”

The 12ft high sculpture comprises eight water carrying pots, growing out of a lotus and embellished with plants, flowers, birds, fish and animals.

At the bottom a single tap reminds people how much the availability of safe, clean drinking water is taken for granted.