Bhu Devi (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

12th century
Indian
gray granite
Tamil Nadu, India
Overall: 60 × 19 × 11 in. (152.4 × 48.26 × 27.94 cm)
68.8.17
This sensuous and self-assured figure is Bhu Devi, the Earth Goddess and one of Vishnu's consorts. Elaborately jeweled and wearing a high conical crown, she holds a water lily in her raised right hand. This emblem, like her rounded breasts and ample hips, is a sign of the Earth's abundance. Her stance - with an exaggerated bend toward her right - is a clue to her original context. She was probably one of three of deities in the main sanctuary of a Vishnu temple, where she stood to the central god's left, leaning toward him. Her form would have been reflected by a similar image of Vishnu's other consort Shri Devi, standing on his right.
Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Gift of Paul Mellon
Dye, Joseph M. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. London: Philipp Wilson, 2001. (cat. no. 58, p. 167)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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