Doorjamb with river goddess

Central India, Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh
10th-11th century
H. 145 cm



This doorpost probably adorned the entrance to a temple or shrine, purifying passers-by with the blessings of the goddess. Hindu temples often feature representations of the goddesses personifying the Ganges and the Yamuna. Here, the goddess (who may represent either of these figures).
Here, the goddess stands on the right side, joined by an assistant in the tribhanga pose.

In the upper right, the small figure may be a naga, or a semi-divine serpent being, kneeling under a tree. These figures often accompany the representation of river goddesses.
Above, there are three registers representing vyala, deities and musicians, which are divided by uniform columns.
It is noticeable that the smaller deities have very stylised and graphic poses, while the goddess has a simpler pose, with a subtle wiggle. She wears a dhoti slung around her hips and jewels that surround her neck and flow down her torso. This curvaceous and sensual style is reminiscent of other religious art from this period, particularly Chandela dynasty sculpture.

Provenance : Sotheby’s, New York, 1995.