Bust of a Female (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

2nd-3rd century
mottled red sandstone
Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India
Overall: 16 × 7 3/4 × 6 in. (40.64 × 19.69 × 15.24 cm)
Carved from Mathura's distinctive mottled red sandstone, this sculptural fragment probably once belonged to a standing amorous couple. The arm of the figure's male partner is carved on the back of the stone, and his hand is draped over her left shoulder. The pair might have been an idealized portrait of patrons or worshippers, or simply an auspicious couple embodying physical and spiritual well-being. The woman wears heavy earrings, a wide collar necklace, and a long twisted cord that falls between her fullbreasts. Typical of Kushan-period sculpture from Mathura, her somewhat fleshy facial features have a tender and receptive expression.
Kushan period
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. 16, pp. 107-108)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.