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Title

Carved temple strut (tunala) depicting a celestial female

13th century


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

'This large wooden temple strut is carved with a distinctively stylised and elongated figure of a tree deity or 'shalabhanjika', also popular in Hindu and Buddhist India. This celestial woman stands with one leg crossed over the other, in a relaxed 'tribhanga' or triple-bend pose. Her proper right hand extends above to grasp hold of a tree branch. Her left hand is in 'vitarka mudra', with the index finger and thumb touching. She stands on the head of a squatting dwarf or 'gana', depicted in a stylised rocky landscape setting.

The long, slim, sinuous body of this tree goddess is adorned with armlets and bracelets, necklaces and a tasselled hip-belt, worn as a symbol of fertility, and she is accompanied by a parrot, a symbol of love. Above her head is the lush, vigorous foliage of a flourishing tree. The 'gana' figure beneath is rendered in angular lines, contrasting with the swaying, curvaceous figure of the woman. With bearded face and strong body, he is shown squatting with one hand extended to the floor and the other resting on his knee.

Asian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2000


Details


Place where the work was made

Kathmandu Valley Nepal


Date

13th century


Media category

Sculpture


Materials used

wood


Dimensions

130.5 x 18.8 x 19.5 cm object with stand :

a - wooden object; 128 x 16.5 x 8.4 cm

b - metal stand; 13.1 x 1.9 x 2 cm


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Bequest of Alex Biancardi 2000


Location

Not on display


Accession number

33.2000.a-b



Referenced in 3 publications

Bibliography


Pratapaditya Pal, Orientations, 'Sensuous Spirituality: Hindu and Buddhist Art from the Indic Cultural Realm', pg. 80-87, Hong Kong, Sep 2000, 87 (illus.). fig.12

Mary Shepherd Slusser, Artibus Asiae, 'Indreshvara Mahadeva, a Thirteenth-Century Nepalese Shrine', pg.185-225, United States of America, 1979, 212 ( illus.). fig.41

Editor Unknown, Arts of Asia [vol 4, no 5], 'The Wooden Sculptures of Nepal', pg. 51-57, Hong Kong, 1974.