The powerful physicality and oval face of this monumental sculpture of a seated woman suggest a provenance in the regions controlled by the Pandyas. Seated in a relaxed position against a slightly damaged throne, this figure wears a long skirt fastened at the waist and has an additional scarf tied over her hips. A tall crown, her simple jewelry, and a sacred thread running from her left shoulder to right hip are characteristic of early south Indian sculptures. The sacred thread is worn by members of the high-ranking Brahmin caste traditionally responsible for the performance of rituals, and is a standard attribute of all Hindu gods.
Both the function and iconography of this piece remain uncertain. The Pandyas are noted for their construction of rock-cut temples created from natural caves. The facades of these structures were often decorated with sculptures, and it seems likely, given the weathered condition of this piece, that it once graced the front of such a temple. The clothing, jewelry, and confident posture of the figure suggest that she might represent a queen. This identification is supported by the importance of women as patrons and the fairly early use of idealized portraits of rulers in the imagery of south Indian temples. However, it was unusual for women to wear the sacred thread, and so it is also possible that this sculpture is a representation of a Hindu goddess. The position of her right hand and the remnants of a stem and flower indicate that she once held a lotus, a gesture commonly used in representations of the goddess Parvati, Shiva's wife. The Pandyas were devoted to Shiva and, if this striking sculpture were to represent a goddess, it would likely be Parvati.