Lot 2
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This red sandstone carving from Central India depicts Ganga, the river goddess, whose lush curves are an indication of her additional status as a goddess of fertility. She is holding up a purna kalash (water pot), a symbol for abundance in Hinduism, with her right arm. Her left arm is lightly positioned on her thigh which imitates a gesture called katyavilamvita – one that can be noticed in other examples of sandstone fragments from the 9th century (see Pratapaditya Pal, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum: Volume 1: Art from the Indian Subcontinent, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003, p. 119).

Here, Ganga is seen with a long dupatta draped around her person and jewels adorning her ears and hair. She is astride her vehicle, the makara (river alligator), whose body is carved with vegetal motifs resembling waves and has a raised snout.

Ganga is accompanied by two attendants who stand to her left, with one holding a musical instrument and the other holding a parasol made of lotus leaves over Ganga’s head to “shield her mistress’s head from the sun.” (Pal, p. 158) According to Indic iconography, the parasol is considered to be a symbol of authority. The vegetal and floral motifs decorating the carving add to the sense of lush abundance embodied by Ganga.

The present lot has similarities with sculptures that frame the entrances to temples in North India. “Hindu temples customarily have such richly carved figural surrounds on the three sides of the main door leading into the shrine. The figures are usually oriented toward the entrance... and denote water symbolism as well as auspiciousness.” (Pal, p. 119)

  Lot 2 of 70  

15 DECEMBER 2021


Winning Bid
Rs 16,80,000

(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)


Eastern Madhya Pradesh, 8th century
Height: 15.15 in (38.5 cm)
Width: 11.02 in (28 cm)
Depth: 3.14 in (8 cm)


This sculpture is mounted on a wooden base measuring 2.7 x 14 x 5.3 in (7 x 35.5 x 13.7 cm)

The J C Tandan Collection
Thence by descent
Saffronart, Mumbai, 14 December 2015, lot 47

Category: Antiquty


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