Orissan bronze. About 12th Century. Calcutta, Indian Museum.



Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham

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Metalwork was one of the most ancient crafts in India, and the forging of iron work was advanced of that in Europe up until the 19th century. Bronze figures of Hindu deities were, in their practice of absolute as opposed to human beauty, almost mathematical in purity and clarity of form. Thus, even though the images were cast in a human shape, they were really highly abstract concepts in a material form. As B. Rowland has stated, the bronze figures were emblematic evocations, not descriptions, of a deity that the worshipper had always in his consciousness. In this illustration we present a figure of the Naga Queen Padmavati, who is seated at ease on a cushion-throne and wears her emblematic hood of serpents. By her face, which is masklike but expressive, we can see the intent for which her image was made: to materialize the image of the female aspects of the earth guardians in a regal form so that the worshipper might be aware that the wondrous beauty of the earth and its worthiness is a thing to be revered.


Orissa-- Sculpture - Orissa - General, copper/bronze, slide set





Archives Series

Basham Collection

Date created

circa 1970s

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This item is provided for research purposes. Contact the Australian National University Archives at butlin.archives@anu.edu.au for permission to use.


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