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Asian art

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Durga Yantra

19th century


Unknown Artist


The 'yantra' sculptures present with seemingly extraordinary simplicity profound spiritual ideologies. Indian religious thought is built around the fundamental principle that all existence emerges from a single point of origin and it is to this point that everything ultimately returns. The central quest of Indian spirituality is to understand the relationship between the individual and universal and to achieve experiential realisation of the 'One'. Sacred diagrams ('yantras') illustrate this fundamental notion in abstract form and, indeed, map out an individual's spiritual journey.

Although 'yantra's make charming display objects they are in fact ritual tools and belong to the Tantric religious tradition of India. By definition, 'yantra' are sacred dwellings or receptacles that contain the essence of a divine being. During a ritual, a practitioner will make special offerings to the deity housed within the 'yantra' and use the diagram as a meditative support to stimulate latent psychosomatic energies.

This sculpture exhibits a sequence of patterns commonly seen on 'yantras'. The diagram is composed of a square enclosure with T-shaped portals in the cardinal directions that allow access towards the sacred centre. A series of circles and lotus petals appear within the square and house a set of interlocked triangles. At the very heart of the diagram lies a triangle enclosing a dot--the mystical point ('bindu')--the singular point of origin and the destination of the spiritual journey.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, February 2006.


Other Title

Copper Yantra

Place where the work was made



19th century

Media category


Materials used



11.0 x 11.0 cm


Purchased 2006


Not on display

Accession number



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

  • Tantric Art, Ben Janssens Oriental Art, London, 06 Dec 2005–23 Dec 2005

  • Goddess: Divine Energy, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Oct 2006–28 Jan 2007

The provenance of this work is under review and records will be updated as new details become available. The Gallery welcomes any information. Contact


Ben Janssens Oriental Art, pre 2006, London/England

Referenced in 1 publication


Madhu Khanna, Goddess: Divine Energy, 'Tantric goddess 'yantras' ', pg. 159-171, Sydney, 2006, 167 (colour illus.). 101