Elongated goddess.
India, state of Madhya Pradesh, Bastar district, 19th or 20th century. Bronze. Lent by Leo S. Figiel, M. D.

The piquant proportions of this female figure, with its bold deliberate distortions of form, illustrate the sharp contrast that exists between depictions of deities within classical Hinduism and folk religion. Sculptors who make images for the traditional temples work according to textual prescriptions following strict guidelines for the physical proportions of deities, their adornment, and other iconographic details. Folk artisans are unfettered by any such regulations. Their work, believed to be inspired directly by the deities who appear in their dream visions, renders each piece unique. This figure may have been either an icon or equally a votive object that was offered to a goddess. Only the pedestal retains traces of the faint horizontal ribbing that is evidence of the wax-thread process typical of Bastar bronzes.

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Elongated goddess.