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Bhu devi

Bhu devi

  • Place of origin:

    Coimbatore (made)

  • Date:

    11th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    cast by the cire-perdue process

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India (1898-1905)

  • Museum number:

    IM.137-1927

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Bhu Devi is both the Earth-goddess and the second wife of Visnu. As Visnu's consort,
she attends Visnu along with Sri Devi. When displayed in a shrine these images would be grouped, with Sri Devi to Visnu's right, and Bhu Devi at his left side. When taken out for processional use they may travel as an ensemble, or each alone in their own dedicated palanquin or temple car, thus asserting their independent identities. The slightly flexed figure of the Devi is holds in her raised left hand a blue-lotus (nilotpala) bud (kataka mudra); the right arm is extended in lola hasta. The goddess wears a conical crown (karanda makuta), strings of pearls and abundant jewellery. The marriage symbol (tali) is worn above the three necklaces. Her tightly drawn waist-cloth is secured with belt and sash which projects bows at the hips.

The figure is fixed on a circular lotus pedestal which is cast in one piece with a rectangular base, the latter with upright tenons for the support of an arched-surround (prabha, now missing), and projecting rings for securing with cord during processional use. The upright tenons are supported by small rampant lions. The patination of the bronze confirms that this is an excavated image. It formed part of a cache of bronze images discovered at Coimbatore and presented to Lord Curzon of Kedleston during his term as Viceroy of India, between 1898 and 1905.

Physical description

The standing figure of the Devi facing to the front in slightly flexed or abhanga pose. The left hand holds a blue-lotus (nilotpala) bud in kataka mudra; the right arm is extended in lola hasta. The figure wears a coronet (karanda makuta), and the siras cakra (disc behind the head for hanging garlands) is flower like. She wears a striped lower garment secured with girdle and sash, the former with long beaded ties or end-pieces extending between the legs, and the latter tied in projecting bows at the hips. Other details include a beaded harness (channavira), keyura armlets worn higher than usual, elbow bracelets with projecting ornaments, extended ear lobes without pendants, an anklet on the left foot only, and the padasaras on the feet. A marriage symbol (tali) is worn above the three necklaces. The figure is fixed on a circular lotus pedestal which is cast in one piece with a rectangular base, the latter with upright tenons for the support of an arched-surround or torana (now missing) and projecting rings for processional carrying. The upright tenons are supported by small rampant lions. The base is heavily patinated, whilst the figure is coated with red oxide or copper, probably produced by burning.

Place of Origin

Coimbatore (made)

Date

11th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

cast by the cire-perdue process

Dimensions

Height: 50.5 cm, Width: 21 cm, Depth: 16.5 cm

Object history note

Bequeathed by Lord Curzon of Kedleston in 1927. The Executors - The Marchioness Curzon and the Hon F H Curzon. (1925/4061). Date of receipt 24 May 1927.
It formed part of the collection made by Lord Curzon during the course of his travels in the latter part of the 19th Century and during his residency in India as Viceroy and Governor-General from 1898-1905.

Descriptive line

Standing Bhu Devi, copper alloy, Coimbatore, south India, 11th century

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

Bethnal Green Museum. Eastern art objects: catalogue of a collection lent by Lord Curzon of Kedleston, HMSO, London, 1910, p.20, case 14, no 9 (215)
R.Nagaswamy, "Kongu Bronzes in the Victoria and Albert Museum," Lalit Kala, nos.13-14, 1967-69, fig.5.
Published in D.R.Thapar- Icons in Bronze- Bombay/London 1961 Plate LXIV & LXV Described as "Bhudevi" mid "Chola".

pp.154-5, Cat. 2:25
Willis, M. (ed.) India: the Art of the Temple, Shanghai Museum, 2010
p.206, Cat.163
L'escultura en el temples indis : l'art de la devoció : exposició organitzada per la Fundació "La Caixa" i el Victoria & Albert Museum, Londres. [Barcelona: Obra social, Fundació "la Caixa", c2007 Number: 9788476649466
p.103, pl.112
Guy, John Indian temple sculpture . London: V&A Publications, 2007

Labels and date

BHU DEVI, ONE OF
VISHNU'S CONSORTS
Copper alloy
Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
South India
Chola period
11th century

IM 137-1927
Bequeathed by Lord Curzon, Viveroy
of India (1898-1905) [25/09/2000]
BHU DEVI, ONE OF VISNU'S CONSORTS
Copper alloy
Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, South India
Chola period
11th century
IM.137-1927
Bequeathed by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India (1898-1905) [ca.1988-2009]

Production Note

Kongunadu, south India

Materials

Copper alloy

Categories

Hinduism

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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