Mughal miniature paintings, £10.99
Height: 76.000 cm
Formerly owned by Sir Jacob Epstein
Asia OA 1962.4-20.1
Sandstone figure of a Hindu goddess
Possibly from Rajasthan, India, 11th century AD
While this multi-armed figure of a Hindu goddess appears to the modern viewer as a sensuous image, it is more appropriately understood as a stereotyped representation of fertility and perfection.
The image is probably from the exterior of an Indian temple, possibly placed originally within a niche or an architectural frame. Similar sculptures of celestial female beings are found on the tenth- and eleventh-century temples at Khajuraho in central north India, The sculptural style and sandstone of this piece indicates that it is from northern Rajasthan.
The artist Jacob Epstein (1880-1959) kept this figure in his studio as a model of beauty and source of inspiration.