Indian Red Sandstone Relief of Gajasimha and a Female Deity

SKU: HQ.0027

Origin: Western or Central India
Circa: 10th Century AD
Dimensions: 26" Height x 14" Width x 6" Length (58.4 cm x 35.6 cm x 15.2 cm)
Medium: Red Sandstone

A gorgeous red sandstone panel depicting a sensuous celestial or deity with a mythical gajasimha all in high relief. The woman stands on a lotus shaped shelf slightly contrapposto with lavish jewelry and a shawl draped around her mostly nude body that consists of exaggerated curves and a beaded necklace falling between her rounded breasts. Her face is forward with almond shaped eyes full lips framed by elongated ears and a topknot coiffure. The gajasimha - "gaja" meaning elephant and "simha" meaning lion - is a lion-elephant hybrid depicted here rearing on his back legs on a shelf slightly recessed to the left of the woman. The elephant head faces backward with the trunk curled around a lotus flower. A long and fan like tail hangs between his feline legs. These mythical beings were powerful protectors and this panel was perhaps made to be set into the wall of a temple.

Sothebys 2016, Joseph Saidan collection, Los Angeles, California, USA; ex-Nuri Farhadi Inc, New York, USA 1969,

Fragment of a larger piece as shown. Losses to woman's head, face, left arm, and right leg. Loss to panel shelf and peripheries. Surface abrasions, chips, and some softening of details. Light mineral deposits and nice red hue.

This is a beautiful and finely-sculpted work of art from ancient India's Gupta Period. The Gupta period is sometimes referred to as India's Golden Age when imperial patronage allowed the arts to flourish therefore it had a great influence on subsequent periods like that of the Pala Empire and Kashmir. Gupta's refined artistic forms are characterized by fluid almost whimsical carving with gentle curves and a geometric attention to symmetry and shape.

Compare the present sculpture to V. Desai and D. Mason, Gods, Guardians, and Lovers: Temple Sculptures from North India A.D. 700-1200, New York, 1993, cat. 15.



Indian Red Sandstone Relief of Gajasimha and a Female Deity


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