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Limestone yoni
South India, circa 15th century

Limestone yoni

A large yoni carved in limestone, the round flat basin-like shape extending to a long tapering channel. Where the channel opens into the circular basin, it is hollowed out to accommodate a linga. The lip of the channel is softly rounded.

• The Hindu pantheon has three central gods: Shiva, Vishnu and Devi (the Great Goddess). Devi is worshipped by means of symbols just as are Shiva and Vishnu. The best known aniconic symbol of Shiva is the standing pillar, the linga, whilst that of the Goddess Devi is the yoni, the stylised representation of the female genitals. Since Devi is generally considered the female and imminent power of Shiva, it is therefore logical that the linga and yoni are often shown together. The yoni is also an appropriate symbol for a fertility Goddess representing the fruitfulness of the divine womb, which is the earth.1 A fragment of a comparable yoni is published by von Schroeder.2 The slightly rustic
carving of this yoni indicates that it was used outdoors, probably in the grounds a temple.

1 Blurton, T. R.; Hindu Art, London 1992, page 163
2 Von Schroeder, U.: Buddhist Sculptures of Sri Lanka, Hong Kong
1990, page 49, plate 5

Length: 76 inches, 193 cm


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