Inscribed stele with the yakshi Ambika
From central India, AD 1034
Nature spirit from a Jain temple
Ambika is worshiped by both Hindus and Jains, though her form and role can vary between the two religions. This Jain image of Ambika shows her mount, a lion, on the bottom right of the figure along with her two young sons.
Western and central
India were both active centres of the Jain faith between the sixth
and the twelfth century. By this time Ambika had become the
attendant specific to the twenty-second
An inscription on this sculpture is as an extraordinary historical document, giving us the date (AD 1034/35), and the name of both the scribe and the donor, a woman named Sosa. According to the record, Sosa established an image of Vagdevi or Sarasvati (the goddess of learning) in the city of King Bhoja (about 1000-55) of the Paramara dynasty. After that she commissioned some Jaina images and finally this figure of Ambika.
By the eleventh century marble was a popular medium for sculpture in western and central India. Although this stele is in relief, the central image has been deeply carved and made free from the background giving it a three-dimensional appearance.