Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide to the Understanding South Asian Art
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Indian artists often portray Hindu deities with multiple arms to emphasize their omnipresence and omnipotence. A variety of hand gestures, known as mudras, are used to express the mood and meaning of the images of the gods. For instance, when the palm is raised to face the worshiper, it is the gesture of protection (abhaya), while a lowered hand with the fingers pointing downward signifies a promise to grant the devotee's wishes (varada). The contrapposto pose, known in India as tribhanga, or triple-bent, was a popular stance; it produced a sense of swaying movement, and most images, whether human or divine, are thus poised.
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Queen Sembiyan Mahadevi as goddess Parvati
Queen Sembiyan Mahadevi as goddess Parvati
India, state of Tamil Nadu, Chola period, ca. 998
Bronze;   height 92.1 cm (36 1/4 in.)
Purchase    F1929.84

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