Bust of a female deity
Nepal, ca. 15th century
Wood. H. 30 cm or 12 inch
This beautiful wooden sculpture probably depicts Tara, a bodhisattva, a “being of Enlightenment”, a deity who has renounced nirvana out of compassion for mankind, and whose mission is to help them attain Enlightenment. This divinity is richly adorned : this can be seen in her superb necklace, admirably preserved, but also in her earrings and her belt. The refinement of the goldsmith’s art and the know-how of the Nepalese jewellers of the time are thus to be seen.
The traces that can be seen on the skull of the deity are a rich witness to the history of this work: they are traces of pûjâ, a Buddhist ritual consisting of pouring liquid offerings (clarified butter, milk, etc.) on the head of the deity. This is supposed to cause the deity to ‘descend’ (archāvatara) into the statue.
Let yourself be seduced by this piece, which is unique in particular for its material: this 15th century wood is exceptionally well preserved.