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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Head of a male deity, probably Viṣṇu. Carved in beige sandstone and abraded; traces of colour.

  • Date

    • 5thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 313 millimetres
    • Width: 148 millimetres
    • Depth: 160 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Perhaps the head of the image of Śārṅgin mentioned in the pillar inscription of Skandagupta at Bhitri, see Fleet, CII 3 (1888): 54 (verse 10):
    [*karttavyā ]pratimā kācit pratimāṃ tasya śārṅgiṇaḥ [*|]
    s[u]pratītaścakāremāṃ [*kumārasvāmināmikām ] [*||10]

  • Bibliography

    • Guy & Willis 2007 no. 32 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history


    'The Art of Devotion', La Caixa, Barcelona, Spain. Exhibition dates: 26/07/2007-18/11/2007.

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    26 October 2006

    Treatment proposal

    Light clean, remount object on a limestone base.


    The object is a stable condition. The sandstone head has retains of a red applied pigment. The head has been previously dowelled and is accompanied by its wooden suuport base which it is not connected to. A new mount (limestone) will be required.

    The head is dirty with ingrained staining, especially at the back where there is no pigment on the surface.

    Treatment details

    The head was examined under magnification to assess the stability of the red pigment on the face.

    The pigment is stable enough as to not require the need for consolidation, as this would darken the pigment which could make the change its appearence. The pigment is water soluble after testing a small area. The ingrained dirt at the back of the head (where there is no red pigment) was cleaned using de-ionised water on cotton wool swabs.

    A stainless steel dowel was used to connect the head to its new base. The dowel was adhered using HMG Paraloid B72 (methyl ethyl methacrlylate), then a top fill of Microballoons (silica or phenolic resin) in 20% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in Acetone and IMS(50:50).

    The limestone base was drilled to accommedate the new dowel and was painted with Cryla colours (acrylic). The base was also mounted on acid free card.

    About these records 

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    Probably acquired with other sculptures by Horne at Bhitri (District Ghazipur, UP) during the course of his archaeological investigation at the site.

  • Department


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • 11997
Sandstone head, probably a bodhisattva.

Sandstone head, probably a bodhisattva.

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

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Object reference number: RRI1298

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