Illustrated introduction to Hinduism, £9.99
Height: 31.000 inches
Brooke Sewell Fund
Asia OA 1963.11-12.1
Room 33: Asia
Schist figure of a matrika (mother goddess)
From Tanesara, Southern Rajasthan, western
mid-6th century AD
This matrika stands wearing a dhoti (lower garment) and a long scarf over her nude torso. Her weight is on one leg, the right being gently flexed. The goddess in Hinduism takes on many forms, some fierce and powerful, others peaceful and loving. In this sculpture she is shown as the embodiment of maternal love. This is emphasized by her gaze, which is directed towards the child at her knee. The lively representation of the child gives the image a human tenderness which is rare in sculpture of the period. Although it has no specific attribute that allows us to identify her more specifically, her sacred nature is underlined by the halo around her head.
Hindus often pour water over sculptures as part of daily worship, resulting in the worn surface seen here.