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Figure - Figure of Mother Goddess

Figure of Mother Goddess

  • Object:

    Figure

  • Place of origin:

    Pakistan (Shaikhan Dheri, Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, made)

  • Date:

    1st century BCE-1st century CE (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Red hand-modelled terracotta with applied ornaments

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Brigadier General H L Haughton

  • Museum number:

    IM.29-1939

  • Gallery location:

    South Asian Sculpture, Room 47b, case 4

This terracotta figurine depicts a female deity or mother goddess. The frontal and symmetrical posture is characteristic of a type of hand-modelled archaic fertility figure. Typically these figures had applied slit-pellet eyes, flat bodies with diminutive but prominent breasts, wide hips, and short outspread arms. An incised vertical line suggested the legs.

The person who hand-modelled this figurine has applied high relief decoration to the flat form. Here applied incised florets and leaves form an elaborate headdress. This, together with the incised jewellery and applied costume, combine to create a highly ornate image of a fertility goddess.

Physical description

Figure of a female deity or mother goddess of red hand-modelled terracotta.

Place of Origin

Pakistan (Shaikhan Dheri, Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, made)

Date

1st century BCE-1st century CE (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Red hand-modelled terracotta with applied ornaments

Dimensions

Height: 25 cm, Width: 9.5 cm, Depth: 3.5 cm

Object history note

Given by Brigadier General H L Haughton in 1939

Historical context note

The strict frontal and rigid posture of this figurine is characteristic of a common type of hand modelled archaic fertility figure usually distinguished by such sylistic features as applied slit-pellet eyes, flat bodies with diminutive but prominent breasts and wide hips, legs indicated by an incised vertical line, and stubby outspread arms. The combined effect of the flat shape and high relief ornamentation, which consists of applied incised florets and leaves, incised jewelery and applied costume, is one of geometricized order and form.

Descriptive line

Mother goddess, terracotta, Charsadda, Pakistan, 1st century BCE-1st century CE

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

A.G., Poster, Indian Earth, Brooklyn Museum, 1986, p116
A.H., Dani, 'Shaikan Dheri Excavations (1963-64 season)' Ancient Pakistan , 2 (1965-66), pp.17-214
Guy, John (ed.). L’Escultura en els Temples Indis: L’Art de la Devocio, Barcelona : Fundacio ‘La Caixa’, 2007. ISBN 9788476649466. p. 53, cat.10.
Cat.2, p.8
Balraj Khanna and George Michell. Human and divine : 2000 years of Indian sculpture. London: Hayward Gallery, c.2000. ISBN: 1853322105
p. 110, cat. no. 53
In the image of man : the Indian perception of the universe through 2000 years of painting and sculpture : [exhibition / organized by Catherine Lampert assisted by Rosalie Cass]. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson :in association with the Arts Council of Great Britain, 1982 Number: 0297780719, 0297781243 (pbk.)

Labels and date

1. Female Figure, probably a Mother Goddess
100 BC – AD 100
Terracotta
Gandhara/North-west Pakistan (Sar Dehri)
Given by Brigadier-General H.L. Haughton
Museum no. IM.29-1939 [06/06/2011]

Materials

Terracotta

Techniques

Modeled

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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