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Standing Female Deity, 10th or 11th century


Fertility goddesses of different types were an important component of early Indian nature cults and were eventually assimilated into the symbolic repertoire of later Indian religious art. These youthful, sensuous figures personify fertility, maternity, and Indian ideals of feminine beauty, various guises expressing different aspects of the female character––triumphant and fierce, as well as passive and dependent.

This delicately carved figure of a goddess, with its softly rounded forms and crisply delineated ornamentation, is typical of temple sculpture from the western Indian state of Rajasthan. The large size of the figure and attendants attest to her importance, and the halo and sword projecting from behind her head signify her power. However, since two of the original four arms, and all the attributes they held, are missing, her identity cannot be firmly established. It has been suggested that she may represent one of the sixteen Jain Vidyadevis (goddesses of learning); Mahamanasi, the sixteenth Vidyadevi, bears a sword as one of her attributes.



(Peter Marks, New York);

purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1968.