This plaque depicting a standing male figure is possibly a representation of a winged deity, perhaps a gandharva, associated with fertility, marriage and the protection of virgins. He is depicted as an upright figure with a round face, wide eyes and full lips. He wears a distinctive and heavy turban, large wheel-like earrings, bangles on his proper right arm and an elaborately woven lower garment belted with a sash. The sophisticated dress of this richly dressed figure reflects the burgeoning wealth of a very early urban and middle-class society who now had money to spend on art objects and architectural decoration. It would seem that such plaques were made to be hung on a wall, perhaps in a temple.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, March 1995
Standing male figure
Shunga Period circa 200 - 50 BCE → India
2nd century BCE-1st century BCE
moulded terracotta plaque with applied surface decoration
28.0 x 14.0 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Not on display
Referenced in 2 publications
Pratapaditya Pal, Orientations, 'Sensuous Spirituality: Hindu and Buddhist Art from the Indic Cultural Realm', pg. 80-87, Hong Kong, Sep 2000, 84 (colour illus.). fig.8
Pratapaditya Pal, Indian sculpture: a catalogue of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art collection, Los Angeles, 1986. General reference - comparable examples