20 March 2009
A black stone head of Vishnu
Northeastern India, Pala Period, 12th century
Finely carved with benevolent expression, bow-shaped lips, round cheeks, and heavy-lidded eyes beneath sinuous brows centered by a tear-shaped urna, a row of curls issuing from the cylindrical headdress decorated with scrolling foliage, the stone smoothly polished and with remains of red pigment
9½ in. (24 cm.) high
Private Collection, America, before 2000
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Carved with sensitivity and elegance, this is a superb example of the mature Pala style. Although not clearly identified, this is most likely a head of Vishnu, a popular deity in this context.
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