Ben Janssens Oriental Art - Indian and Souteast Asian Art
Design by Keenan Design Associates
Stock - Indian and Southeast Asian Art Design by Keenan Design Associates
Chinese Art

Latest catalogue



Sandstone female torso

India, Madhya Pradesh, 10th – 11th century AD
Height: 15 5/8 inches, 39.5 cm

Sandstone female torso

A sandstone torso of a female deity, the sinuous body with prominent breasts clad in a clinging dhoti which is held up by a belt from which beaded necklaces are suspended. She has gathered the trailing end of her skirt in her right hand, which is placed near her hip. On her wrist, she wears a large bangle, on her fingers several rings, and an elaborate ornament encircles her upper arm. A further beaded necklace is suspended from her neck and her left hand holds a cup-shaped object.

It is complex to identify the deity represented in this sensuously carved sculpture of great quality and detail. Sensual female figures, adorned with jewellery and often posing as if dancing or playing instruments are not an uncommon feature in temple decoration. These female figures are often referred to as Vrishakas, a Sanskrit term meaning literally ‘the personification of a tree’, one of the most common motifs in ancient Indian art. To early Indians the spirit of the trees created the tone and shape of females. This tree/woman or yaskhi has different names as ashika-dohada, meaning flowering of the ashoka tree or surasundari, a celestial dancer. Yakshis are always seductive in pose and act as protectors against natural catastrophes. Their playful postures bring form and naturalness to the female figure, shalabhanjika, making her an essential part of nature 1 . Comparable sculptures are in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 2, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the Avery Brundage Collection 3 , the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston4 , and in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 5.

1 For a discussion of this imagery, see: In the Image of Man (London 1982)
2 See: The Arts of India by Joseph M. Dye III (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, London 2001) p.137, no. 36.
3 See: A Decade of Collecting (1966-1976) (Japan 1976) no. 197, p. 137
4 See: Asiatic Art in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (Boston 1982) no. 160, p. 170
5 See: Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection (New York 1981) p.19
Design by Keenan Design Associates

Ben Janssens Oriental Art Deals in Indian and Southeast Asian works of art