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A STONE FIGURE OF A MOTHER GODDESS, POSSIBLY MATRIKA
Lots which are Art Treasures under the Art and Ant… Read more Property from the collection of a LadyRegistered Antiquity – Non-Exportable
A STONE FIGURE OF A MOTHER GODDESS, POSSIBLY MATRIKA

ALMORA, NORTH INDIA, CIRCA 6TH CENTURY

Details
A STONE FIGURE OF A MOTHER GODDESS, POSSIBLY MATRIKA
ALMORA, NORTH INDIA, CIRCA 6TH CENTURY
The goddess in a gently swayed stance with a child resting on her left hip, adorned with jewelry and with a shawl draped over her shoulders, her face with a gentle expression surmounted with an elaborate headdress and backed by a lotus petal aureole
32 in. (81.3 cm.), high
Provenance
Acquired by the family of the present owner by 1976; thence by descent

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Lots which are Art Treasures under the Art and Antiquities Act 1972 cannot be exported outside India. Please note that lots are marked as a convenience to you and we shall not be liable for any errors in, or failure to, mark any lot.

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Umah Jacob
Umah Jacob

Lot Essay

Beautifully carved in polished stone, the subject and style of the present figure make for a very unique sculpture. Beautiful and unusual traits, such as the large halo with a triangulated rim, are paired with substantial and voluptuous forms, making the goddess a fine example of the rounded physique of Gupta period sculpture. Compare with a figure of skandamata at the Cleveland Museum of Art (see J. Harle, Gupta Sculpture, Oxford, 1974, pl. 91); both figures have a gentle poetic sway, wide, thick hips, a long scarf that drapes over the shoulders, large hoop earrings and an aureole. While Gupta period sculpture is known for its particularly sensuous forms, the female has long been depicted with curved and ample forms to emphasise fertility. Although this specific configuration of mother and child, with the child resting on the mother's hips, is found in contemporaneous sculpture from Rajasthan, interestingly enough there is no direct iconographic or textual explanation for it.
While this subject is frequently seen in Rajasthani sculpture, the stone, physique and stylistic rendering of the facial features and the hair of this sculpture find closer comparison with a later Almoran figure of Uma from the Umamaheshvara at the Metropolitan Museum (1975.541), suggesting relation to the sculptural tradition further north. Both have sweet, oval faces, simple dress and large hairdos and earrings. One could also detect a likeness to contemporaneous or earlier stone sculpture of female deities from neighboring Nepal, exhibiting a similar physique and elaborately dressed hair; compare with a fourth or fifth century figure at the Patna Museum (see L. Bangdel, The Early Sculptures of Nepal, New Delhi, 1982, pp. 38, 155, pl. 67). By comparison, the present figure is in impressive condition and is particularly animated, standing in graceful sway instead of hieratic stillness. This figure of a goddess is a unique example of North Indian sculpture during the Gupta period and a masterful depiction of feminine strength.

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