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Inscribed stele with the yakshi Ambika


Height: 129.500 cm

Asia OA 1880-19

Room 33: Asia

    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 tirthankara, Neminatha. In addition, she was an important Jain goddess in her own right.

    An inscription on this sculpture is as an extraordinary historical document, giving us the date (AD 1034/35), and the name of both the scribe and the donor, a woman named Sosa.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.


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    On display: Room 33: Asia

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    Embroidery from India and Pakistan, £10.99

    Embroidery from India and Pakistan, £10.99