Goddess on a Swing
India, state of Madhya Pradesh, Bastar district, 19th-20th century. Brass. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Purchase S1990.6

The Bastar district of Madhya Pradesh (central India) has a vast population of tribal people who have retained old customs. The area abounds with female deities, often called matas, or mothers, some of whom are known and venerated only within a single village. Bastar's ritual brasses are either worshiped or given as offering to deities in fulfillment of vows. Here the goddess and swing were cast as one piece that was attached to the supporting structure by twisted wire. Plates on which devotees may burn incense pellets are in her hand, balanced on her head, and placed atop the shrine.

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Goddess on a Swing