Lot 29
Quick Zoom

1st - 2nd Century B.C.E.

Kaushambi, Uttar Pradesh

Height: 2.3 in (5.8 cm)

Apart from sculptures in stone, the tradition of making sculptures in terracotta was a well established one. Thus, single mould made terracotta pieces are found extensively across the subcontinent, and this charming piece belongs to this category. It depicts a women doing 'sringar' (adorning herself) with one arm raised to her head. The other could have possibly held a mirror, into which she preens herself. She is heavily adorned; bangles on her wrists, large earrings, and a necklace are visible, though the fine detailing has been lost over a period of time. The figure is set against a decorative background of curvilinear fronds and leaves.

Kaushambi was an important center, and pieces such as these could have been made for the consumption of city dwellers who had sophisticated tastes and liked to be surrounded by objects of beauty.


Craftsmen in India have been making objects out of terracotta since at least the third millennium B.C.E. As the medium has been in use for a very long time it offers an interesting insight into changing civilizations and styles. A.K. Coomaraswamy, Stella Kramrisch and Amy Poster have done considerable research on this medium. Technically terracotta refers to baked clay objects. However, in India, craftsmen have also modeled unfired clay images that dissolve when immersed in water. In India, artisans have crafted clay by modelling as well as the use of moulds. The use of moulds implies an advanced understanding of the medium, codified iconography, and mass consumption, which in turn implies that it was an integral aspect of people's lives in various forms.

Terracotta is a fascinating medium that helps us connect with the most ancient of civilizations and gain a deeper understanding of the life and times thousands of years ago.

Other similar works in: this auction  |  entire site

  Lot 29 of 55  

25-26 APRIL 2012

$400 - 500

Winning Bid
(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)

From the collection of a renowned art historian


Bidding is permitted in Indian rupees only. US dollar values shown, if any, are for reference.
Need help? Please check our guides on How to Bid. Auction Tips and FAQs.
Email [email protected], [email protected] Tel: (91 22) 2432 2898/2436 4113