Collections: Asian Art: Standing Female

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    Standing Female

    Long before they made icons of Hindu or Buddhist deities, the artists of India created images of gods and goddesses that appear to have been associated with fertility and abundance. The identities of these deities are unknown—it is likely that they were called by many different names—but their representations share several features, most notably well-fed, voluptuous bodies and abundant jewelry. Most of the images of these deities are small, formed from clay, and were probably worshipped on domestic shrines or used as amulets. The female figures far outnumber the male.

    These clay figurines appear in a wide variety of styles, reflecting differences in the tastes and modeling abilities of various regions and periods. This lively female figure comes from an area of Pakistan where merchants from around the Mediterranean had long maintained trading posts. The area, known in antiquity as Gandhara, developed an unusual hybrid style of art and culture that was at once Hellenic and Indic. The face and upper torso of this figure resemble those on terracotta images from the classical world, while her wide hips and ornate coiffure are more typical of Indian fertility goddesses.

    • Cultures: Taxila; or Sirkap
    • Medium: Terracotta
    • Geographical Locations:
    • Dates: 1st century C.E.
    • Period: Kushana Period
    • Dimensions: overall (without base): 7 x 3 5/8 x 1 1/2 in. (17.8 x 9.2 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Asian Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 88.194
    • Credit Line: Gift of Georgia and Michael de Havenon
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Taxila. Standing Female, 1st century C.E. Terracotta, overall (without base): 7 x 3 5/8 x 1 1/2 in. (17.8 x 9.2 x 3.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Georgia and Michael de Havenon, 88.194. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, 88.194_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Catalogue Description: Red terracotta, hand-modeled and molded. Female figure standing on a round flat base with her feet together. She is nude except for an elaborate headdress consisting of flowers and a water pot at her left, and she is adorned with earplugs and anklets. Her face is molded but her torso is hand-molded with high round breasts, a narrow waist, ample hips and thighs. A long braid hangs to get lower back. Her arms are held straight out to either side beside her hips. Other similar terracotta figurines have been unearthed in the region of Taxila, particularly at Sirkap, which was excavated and published by Sir John Marshall cf. reports of the 1913-1934 excavation reports, in Taxila (Cambridge, 1951) Vol. III, pl. 132, torsos numbers 6-9, and pl. 133, heads, numbers 4648. The figure arrived with its own black base. Conditions: Left arm below elbows is a plaster restoration. Otherwise condition is excellent.
    • Record Completeness: Best (84%)
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    Recent Comments
    08:31 06/10/2011

    to Woman we offer all prayers
    all oblations;
    to Woman we offer all produce
    and oil, seeds of the fields
    and honey and all praise

    for Woman brings all lokas into being
    for Woman sustains all lokas
    and Woman redeems, Woman saves
    for Woman is love
    for Woman is energy
    She is blood and She is flesh and spirit
    She is grace, charm, life
    and comfort and stability and order
    and the first and the middle and the last

    to Woman we offer all produce of the land
    all catch and all abundance -
    for these Woman bestows on all living beings;
    to Woman we offer all adoration:
    to her head and her shoulders and her feet
    and her hands and her breasts
    and to her yoni
    and all of her body
    and her mind and her Being and Energy;
    to all of her we submit
    all of us

    for Woman makes all of these
    that we see in the skies
    and lands and oceans
    for it is Woman who brings forth
    the Day and Night
    and it is Woman who brings forth
    all Time and Space
    and Being and Existence -
    for she is Blood and she is Flesh and Spirit

    to Woman we offer all prayer
    all oblations;
    to Woman we offer all produce
    and oil, seeds of the fields
    and honey and all praise
    for the first is Woman
    the last is Woman:
    Eternity is Woman

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