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Gwalior: Relief of Flying Celestials, 5th Century A.D. Delhi, National Museum

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Gwalior: Relief of Flying Celestials, 5th Century A.D. Delhi, National Museum
Author(s): Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham
Keywords: Gupta Period;Gupta Sculpture;General;stone sculpture;mounted transparency set
Series/Report no.: Basham Collection
Description: Occupying the highest levels of Buddhist (or Hindu) interiors in shrines, chaitya halls and rock-cut sanctuaries are energetic celestial deities, who float effortlessly out of their stone backgrounds or speed through the heavens to act as additional guardians to sacred buildings, The celestials are often to be seen hovering at the edge of the Buddha's nimbus or over reliefs of stupas where they again exercise protective influence and indicate the closeness of the heavenly beings to whatever they protect (Buddha or a sanctuary, for example), Their style is in keeping with that of Yakshas and Yakshis with regards to body types, dress and ornamentation, In composition, the celestials are more complex, however, as one might expect from space-defying motifs, and their surroundings are carved with flowing rhythms to suggest their flight, Their most distinguishing attitude is a half-running pose with legs up-lifted at right angles to the body,
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-826


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