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Creator Nationality: Asian; Indian Sub-Continent; Indian
Creator Dates/Places: Western or Central Indian
Creator Active Place: Western or Central Indian
Creator Name-CRT: Western or Central Indian
Title: Celestial Entertainer
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1000
Creation End Date: 1099
Creation Date: 11th century
Creation Place: India, Rajasthan or Uttar Pradesh
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: sandstone
Dimensions: H. 21 1/4 in. (54 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.033
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: This image of a female celestial entertainer characterizes the style of sculpture produced in 11th-century Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The performer twists dramatically, lifting one hand above her head while placing the other (now missing) at her side. She wears a crown, armlet, earrings, and two heavy necklaces, one long and one short. The girdle of beads around her waist and legs, and the elaborate treatment of her jewelry--seen for example in the dense incised lines representing the folds of her skirt and lavish amount of beads used to make her jewelry--are typical features of 11th-century sculpture in the region. The tree above the woman's head bears fruit, which two small monkeys are eating. This shalabhanjika, the combination of a tree and a woman, is one of most enduring images in India and is used in Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain art primarily as a symbol of fertility.
The three-dimensionality of this figure suggests that the sculpture may once have served as a bracket figure for a pillar, probably in the interior of a temple. Entertainers, particularly beautiful women, are among the most common images on Hindu temples. They entertain the gods and designate the area within as a special palace or a heaven, where music and dance are readily available. Figures such as this were placed in subsidiary locations in the temple walls, where they functioned as attendants to the principal images, which are representations of the gods.
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, , p. 19.
Related Document Description: Newman, Richard. The Stone Sculpture of India: A Study of the Materials Used by Indian Sculptors from ca. 2nd Century B.C. to the 16th Century. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Art Museums, Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, 1984, pp. 44, 75, 84.
Related Document Description: Queens Museum. Aspects of Indian Art and Life. New York: Queens County Art and Cultural Center, 1983, pp. 18, 22.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.033
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, Asia Society
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