Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide to the Understanding South Asian Art
Introductionpage 1page 2page 3page 4 page 5 page 6 Sculpturepage 1page 2Paintingpage 1page 2page 3page 4
In India, the sculpted representation of the body, both human and divine, was of paramount importance. Such imagery never aimed to imitate nature or to create an effect of illusionistic realism. Sculptors did not model their images on living beings, but produced an idealized form, sensuous and youthful, for both gods and humans. For instance, the model laid down in ancient texts for the female torso was either the double-headed divine thunderbolt (vajra) or the waisted drum (damaru). Following this pattern, sculptors invariably produced a female form with narrow waist, broad hips, and high, rounded breasts. Arms resembled the slender, pliant bamboo shoot and eyes the lotus petal or the fish.
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Celestial Drummer
Western India, ca. 13th century
Marble;   height 86.0 cm (33 7/8 in.)
Purchase   S1995.89

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