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Asian art

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Torso of a female divinity

11th century


Unknown Artist


Most likely the torso of a celestial woman or 'surasundari', this sculpture embodies the Indian ideals of feminine beauty: full, spherical breasts set close, narrow wasp-like waist, ample hips and elaborate jewellery that accentuates the soft tactility of the flesh. This kind of representation of the feminine was included in the iconographic program of the Hindu temple in order to improve its power.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.22.


Other Title

Female torso

Place where the work was made

Madhya Pradesh India


11th century

Media category


Materials used



53.0 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust 1990


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Brian Moore Gallery, 1990, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia

Margaret Olley, Jun 1990, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney as part of the Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust, June 1990.

Referenced in 6 publications


Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: South Asia', pg. 288-297, Sydney, 1999, 289 (colour illus.).

Gauri Parimoo Krishnan, Goddess: Divine Energy, 'Nature goddesses', pg. 23-33, Sydney, 2006, 24 (colour illus.). cat. no. 9

Jackie Menzies, AGNSW Collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 178 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The Realm of the Hindu Gods', Sydney, 2003, 22 (colour illus.).

Pratapaditya Pal, Orientations, 'Sensuous Spirituality: Hindu and Buddhist Art from the Indic Cultural Realm', pg. 80-87, Hong Kong, Sep 2000, 85 (colour illus.). fig.10

Editor Unknown (Editor), Margaret Olley Art Trust, Sydney, circa 1994, colour illus..