| Exhibitions | Galleries


Previous Item | Asia Week New York | Next Item

Theresa McCullough

Northern India
10th century
Buff sandstone
Height: 79 cm (31 ins)

The term Sarasundari refers to any one of the beautiful women who adorn the walls of mediaeval north Indian temples. Although their role might be regarded at first sight to be largely decorative, they are an essential element of the building since they are believed to intensify its spiritual nature. The association of female deities with nature is ancient, the great rivers of India being regarded as goddesses whose fertility spills out on the rich agricultural lands around, bringing forth prosperity. Likewise, the image of a young goddess on the walls of a temple enhances the potency of the place, increasing the strength of the prayers offered there to the principal god. It is also sometimes argued that the presence of such lovely goddesses attracts the attention of the god, drawing him into the place to hear the prayers of his devotees.

This goddess, with her serene but rather serious expression does indeed appear to be listening to the prayers of the faithful. Although she stands still, her tribhanga (triple flexion) pose gives her a naturally relaxed appearance and she is enlivened by the drapery which hangs in gentle pleats at her sides. The intricately detailed ornaments falling from her waistband, her necklace and basubands are all in keeping with the southern Rajasthan style of the mid-10th century but there are elements of her face and headdress which suggest the sculptor was consciously aware of the stylistic traditions
of the region.


Desai, Vishakha and Mason, Darielle; Gods, Guardians and Lovers,
New York, 1993, Fig 43 (Rajasthan, 10th century).

Michell, George and Leach, Yorke, Linda; In the Image of Man,
London, 1982
Fig 296 (Gujarat, 8th century).

Itemcode: tm0044

all text & images © Theresa McCullough Ltd.

Previous Item | Asia Week New York | Next Item | Exhibitions | Galleries