Queen Sembiyan Mahadevi as the Goddess Uma

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 3
Download Image IIIF

Terms of Use

Creative Commons

At A Glance

On View
  • Period

    10th century
  • Geography

    Tamil Nadu state, India
  • Material

  • Dimension

    H x W x D: 107.3 x 33.4 x 25.7 cm (42 1/4 x 13 1/8 x 10 1/8 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Provenance

    Hagop Kevorkian, New York, likely purchased in Europe from an unknown source [1]
    From 1929
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hagop Kevorkian, New York [2]
    [1] Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962) is best known as a dealer in Islamic art but he also dealt with some Indian sculpture and paintings. Born in Kayseri (present-day Turkey), he began his self-named art business in London by the 1890s and later expanded operations to Paris, with his brother Carnig (alt. Carneg) Kevorkian. He subsequently established a third location in New York after he settled there in 1920.
    While the identity of the source from whom Kevorkian purchased this sculpture, the place of transaction or the find-site location are subjects of ongoing research, Vidya Dehejia's research places it in the Kailasanatha Swamy Sivan Temple in Nagapattinam (See The Thief Who Stole My Heart: The Material Life of Sacred Bronzes from Chola India, 855--1280 (2021)). There is no further evidence for a connection with this temple, and the presence of surface encrustation on the object suggests that this sculpture was not in
    ritual use at or around the time it appeared on the art market. See reports in the object file.
    [2] In a letter addressed to Freer Gallery of Art curator John E. Lodge (1876-1942), dated March 6, 1929, Hagop Kevorkian introduced this sculpture to the museum's attention and mentioned he had it stored in a safety deposit vault in Paris.
    In a subsequent letter dated June 11, 1929, Kevorkian reported that the sculpture had arrived in New York from Paris on the ship S.S. Paris and was currently in his possession in New York. See documents in the object file.
    See also invoice dated July 19, 1929, issued by Hagop Kevorkian and approved on August 5, 1929, copy in the object file.
    Research updated March 14, 2023
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Body Image (October 14, 2017 - ongoing)
    The Thief Who Stole My Heart: The Material Life of Sacred Bronzes in Chola India ca. 850-1280 (Monday, March 14, 2016 - Monday, January 30, 2017)
    Arts of the Indian Subcontinent and the Himalayas (October 16, 2004 to January 3, 2016)
    The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India (November 10, 2002 to March 9, 2003)
    South and South East Asian Art (May 9, 1993 to February 7, 2000)
    Sculpture of South Asia and the Himalayas (November 19, 1992 to July 9, 2017)
    The Arts of South Asia (May 13, 1985 to December 2, 1985)
    The Ramayana (July 18, 1983 to April 15, 1984)
    Hindu and Buddhist Art (April 1, 1982 to July 18, 1983)
    Hindu and Buddhist Art (January 28, 1981 to September 24, 1981)
    Indian Art (January 1, 1963 to January 28, 1981)
    Untitled Exhibition, South Asian Art, Gallery 8 (July 15, 1958 to January 1, 1963)
    Centennial Exhibition, West Corridor (February 25, 1956 to July 11, 1958)
    Untitled Exhibition, South Asian Painting, 1955 (October 24, 1955 to November 28, 1955)
    Untitled Exhibition, South Asian Paintings and Sculpture (October 2, 1947 to February 25, 1956)
    Untitled Exhibition, South Asian Paintings, Gallery 7 (January 10, 1945 to October 2, 1947)
    Untitled Exhibition, South Asian Paintings, Gallery 4 (May 5, 1933 to January 9, 1945)
    Untitled Exhibition, Persian Art (March 14, 1931 to May 5, 1933)
    Untitled Exhibition, South Asian and Persian Art (March 24, 1930 to March 14, 1931)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962)
  • Origin

    Tamil Nadu state, India
  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

  • On View

    Freer Gallery 01: Body Image: Arts of the Indian Subcontinent
  • Restrictions and Rights

    CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The National Museum of Asian Art welcomes information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Keep Exploring