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Mathura: Railpost with woman under asoka tree holding a lotus

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Mathura: Railpost with woman under asoka tree holding a lotus
Author(s): Photographer: Basham, Arthur Llewellyn
Keywords: Mathura
Railing & pillar Sculpture
stone sculpture
mounted transparency set
Series/Report no.: Basham Collection
Description: Railing pillars received a great amount of attention from both Buddhist and Jainan Kushan artists who carved abundant scenes of human figures on the front sides of numerous uprights during the 1st century A.D. Whereas stupas were always the seat of tremendous artistic achievements, Mathuran sculptured railings, pillars and coping around the stupas attained perhaps the greatest level of excellence in all Mathuran art, A particularly favorite subject was the beautiful woman: her forerunner in the Yakshis of Mauryan dynastic art: especially when she was engaged in a popular female sport called Salabhanjika, which involved the gathering of sala flowers as part of a religious festival connected with Buddha's visit to Sravasti in the Jatvana, In our illustration, the railing sculpture shows a woman taking part in this 'sport' of gathering flowers by standing beneath an asoka tree, whose flowers she has just plucked from its down-reaching branches, It seems to be part of the legend that the trees are cooperative enough to extend their flowered branches down to the women, Evidently, this type of event also refers to the belief that a tree could be made to blossom when kicked by a maiden with her left foot, The sculpture is treated adroitly and emphasizes the curved lines of the female figure, Characteristic of this period, the figure is handled gracefully even in relatively shallow space, -- From Manoharpara (Mathura), 1st Century A.D. Mathura, Curzon Museum,
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-695


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