Lion and Absent Goddess

Historical period(s)
18th century
H x W: 20 x 11.4 cm (7 7/8 x 4 1/2 in)
India, Probably Maharashtra state
Credit Line
Gift of Leo S. Figiel, M.D.
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Sculpture

Figure: goddess

casting, India, lion, sadhu, WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

This composite group does not display the characteristic metal thread technique that is typical of Bastar, nor the hatchwork of Kondh, and it seems more probable that it comes from the region of Maharashtra that adjoins Bastar. It's central figure is a large lion whose tail sweeps around in a magnificent curve and ends in a lotus flower. The lion is the mount of the Goddess who, however, was never meant to be protrayed in this image. Rather, it seems as if her presence was suggested by the parasol above the lion; in many tribal areas, the deities themselves, especially Matas, are not taken out in procession; instead a regal parasol, suggestive of her presence, is taken in procession. Flanking the lion are four armed attendants, the two in front seemingly copied from Maratha soldiers, and the two at the rear tailed monkeys. The parasol, decorated with a peacock motif in the front, itself serves as a base for a further group of figures that include a squatting yogi with a bowl before him who may perhaps represent Shiva, and four attendants who are either human supported by metal bands, or more likely, monkeys propped up by their tails.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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