Indian Sandstone Figure of a Female Deity

SKU: HQ.0100

Origin: India
Circa: 13th century AD
Dimensions: 19.75" height, (50.2 cm)
Medium: Sandstone

This sublime and sensuous female deity figure was likely part of a divine couple composition.  The pairing of God and Goddess, often represented as Vishnu and Lakshmi, could be found carved into the exterior walls of temples throughout the region of Madya Pradesh during the medieval period.  Given the remnants of a hand below her left breast, the languid low slung position of her hips in contrapposto, and the raised position of the right shoulder we can be fairly confident in this attribution.  Although she may be missing her other half, what remains is still a striking and superb statue in its own right.  The youthful figure with a soft, adoring gaze is bedecked in lavish adornments as per the custom.  An elaborate conical headdress sits atop tightly coiffed hair, while large pendulous ear rings hang aside the face.  She wears a layered necklace and waist band with beaded festoons, while the sacred thread hangs between her breasts.  All these details provide a dramatic counterpoint to the soft, sinuous form and give the figure an elegant sense of balance and rhythm.

Property from a Private Indiana Collection, Asian Works of Art, Skinner Boston, October 22, 2005, sale 2315

Wear and surface abrasion throughout, with minor restoration to nose and mouth as well as areas of the breasts and hand. Losses to lower legs and shoulder as shown, with water spots and areas of encrustation.

Undoubtedly one half of a divine couple composition this figure may well be Lakshmi. When Vishnu is shown with one wife, the pair is generally called Lakshmi-Narayana: Lakshmi being the goddess of good fortune, and Narayana being another name for Vishnu. The sinuous verticality and exuberant sensuality of the present sculpture, of a pale sandstone, relates it with other works that come from the Madhya Pradesh region in India, possibly the famous complex of temples at Khajuraho.

For similar examples, see Pratapaditya Pal, "Indian Sculpture", Vol. 2, Los Angeles, 1988, p. 113, no. 43; and Pal, "The Sensuous Immortals", Los Angeles, 1977, pp. 71, no. 39, pp. 80-81, nos. 45, 46.



Indian Sandstone Figure of a Female Deity


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