Head of a Divinity (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

8th-9th century
buff sandstone
Southern Uttar Pradesh or Northwest Madhya Pradesh, India
Overall: 10 1/2 × 10 1/4 × 7 1/2 in. (26.67 × 26.04 × 19.05 cm)
This head of a male deity is a sculpture of great delicacy and beauty. Though it is difficult to determine his identity, the piled, matted hair suggests an affiliation with the Hindu god Shiva who is often shown as an ascetic (one who practices self-denial as a measure of spiritual discipline). It is very possible that this head belonged to the figure of a door guardian (dvarapala) that flanked the entrance to a temple. Beneath his lotus halo and ornate headdress, the deity's serene face is elegantly refined and sensitively rendered.
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. 41, p. 142)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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