- Museum number
Figure of a mother goddess (matrika) carrying a skull topped staff and skull cup. Made of stone (granite).
- Production date
- 900 (circa)
Height: 108 centimetres
Width: 63.40 centimetres
Depth: 34.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
This object is part of a large set of such images ("exceeding the canonical seven" [ie for matrikas], says Harle), some, at least, in the Madras Museum. By reason of the large size of this set these pieces are usually referred to as Yoginis, Harle continues.
Our knowledge of Pallava religion is still not sufficient to name and exactly characterise this deity. Her wild ascetic's hair, skull-topped staff and skull-cup all suggest an horrific rather than a pacific personality. The uncluttered background and the large areas of the image which bear no decoration are typical of the directness and power of early South Indian sculpture.
This sculpture is published in Vidya Dehejia, Yogini Cult and Temples: A Tantric Tradition, National Museum, Delhi, 1986, p. 180. Here it is identified as a yogini from the Chola period.
- On display (G33/od)
- Exhibition history
Sep 2020 - Jan 2021, BM, Room 35, "Tantra: enlightenment to revolution"
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- According to a letter from J C Harle of the Ashmolean Museum to W Zwalf (BM) in Dec. 1983, this object was found by Jouveau-Dubreuil in Kanchipuram in 1926 (information given to Harle by a daughter of C T Loo, the Paris dealer in Asian art)
- Registration number