Skip to content


An image of Surya, the sun god by

West Bengal, India

Surya, the sun god
Place of origin
West BengalIndia
Pala Period circa 760 - 1142 → India
early 11th century
Media category
Materials used

56.0 cm x 24.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Mr S. Matsuno 1995
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Surya, the universal sun god, is one of the five principal deities of the Hindu pantheon (together with Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha and Devi). He is identified with Saturn in the worship of the nine planets ('navagrahas'). Worship of Surya has been prevalent in India from very early times (c. third millennium BC). In the early Kushana period (c. first/second century AD) under Iranian influence, there emerged in North India the form of Surya as seen in this relief - the deity in a frontal position, carries full blown lotuses in his hands, and stands on a chariot to which are yoked seven horses. In this symmetrically stele, Surya is crowned by a kirtimukha and accompanied by his two consorts Ushas (Dawn) and Chaya (Shade). Two male attendants Danda (staff) and Pingala (scribe) are also depicted.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, March 1995

Bibliography (1)

S.B.Singh, Arts of Asia, 'SURYA: The universal sun god', pp 83-87, Hong Kong, Nov 1994-Dec 1994, 83-87.

Exhibition history (1)

East of India - forgotten trade with Australia, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney, 01 Jun 2013–18 Aug 2013