Yamuna (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

9th century
red sandstone
Madhya Pradesh, India
Overall: 31 1/4 × 15 1/2 × 9 in. (79.38 × 39.37 × 22.86 cm)
This small sculptural frieze once ornamented the left jamb of a doorway into a Hindu temple. The main figure is a personification of the Yamuna River, and the corresponding right jamb would have shown the Ganga, the goddess of the Ganges River. Passing between these representations of two of India's most sacred rivers, the visitor to the temple would have been ritually purified. Leaning on an attendant, Yamuna stands upon a lotus flower as she is carried on the back of her turtle mount, whose head is now missing. The scrollwork behind the turtle evokes the swiftness of the river currents. A second attendant holds a lotus stalk with a bloom that forms a parasol over Yamuna's head, and the goddess raises a vase brimming with more foliage. In the upper corners, a serpent divinity rises above the vase, and two celestial geese descend with a garland for her.
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. 36, pp. 137-138)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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