Waterspout in the form of a Flying Celestial (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

973
Indian
sandstone
probably Chandrehe Monastery, Madhya Pradesh, India
Overall: 23 3/4 × 11 1/2 × 12 1/4 in. (60.33 × 29.21 × 31.12 cm)
68.8.19
This waterspout almost certainly comes from the late-tenth-century Hindu monastery at Chandrehe in central India. The rectangular building, now in ruins, consisted of a central courtyard surrounded by two floors of pillared verandas and halls. Separating the first and second stories was a sloping cornice with attached moldings to catch rainwater. Waterspouts in the shape of flying celestials (heavenly beings), such as this one, were fitted into these troughs at intervals. Rainwater would have poured through the mouth (now missing) of this figure and onto the courtyard below. Though substantial, with a swelling and vital torso, the figure's pose and the fluttering scarf that trails from his arm indicate his weightlessness.
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. 44, pp. 144-145)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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