Description This commanding figure, carved in over-life-sized proportions, represents a "yogini," a type of Hindu goddess believed to be both dangerous and beneficial, who grants special powers (such as worldly success or the ability to fly) to devotees. Yoginis occur in groups, and this goddess resembles the sculptures of the circular, open-air temple at Bheraghat, which once enshrined as many as 81 such images around its inner periphery. Her voluptuous body and elaborate jewelry allude to the auspicious aspects of the goddess, but her face and hairstyle subtly point to the fierce qualities that she also embodies: With furrowed eyebrows nearly meeting at the bridge of her nose, she looks at the viewer with an expression of heated intensity, and her elaborately arranged dreadlocks signal her ascetic power. When intact, she may have held fearsome attributes such as weapons or a skull-topped staff, or less threatening objects such as a pot or bell. Like the other yoginis in the temple at Bheraghat, this goddess is likely to have had four or more arms, and she sat with one leg pendant, possibly surrounded by smaller figures engaged in her worship.
- Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham. 2001-2003.
Provenance Doris Wiener, New York; purchased by John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, 1969; given to Walters Art Museum, 2003.
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2003
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