Seven female figures representing the seven sisters (sat-bahini) here stand in a row, their arms wrapped around one another's backs in folk-dance formation. Since prehistoric times the number seven has had mystical significance in India. It denotes multiplicity and plurality and is widely associated with cyclic renewal. In western India groups of seven water nymphs are propitiated to protect women from infertility and miscarriages.
Seven sisters on a pedestal.

Seven sisters on a pedestal
India, state of Madhya Pradesh, Bastar district, 19th century. Bronze. Lent by Leo S. Figiel, M.D.
In southern India, the sapta kannagis (seven maidens) are considered the tutelary deities of water tanks. In tribal Bastar, where young people often live in dormitories called ghotul, the seven sisters are looked upon as protectors of adolescent girls. The divine maidens have individual names, which are often conferred as titles of honor upon the resident girls. These bronze figurines depicting the seven divine maidens may also refer to the girls engaged in ritual dances in their honor.

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