Railing Pillar: Female Deity (Yakshi) and an Amorous Couple (Mithuna)

Place Made:
India: Madhya Pradesh, Bharhut
c. 100 B.C.E.
58 x 11 x 8-1/4 in. (147.3 x 27.9 x 21 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
Not on View

This pillar once belonged to the Great Stupa (reliquary mound) at Bharhut. The prominent female in the upper register is a goddess associated with fertility and nature, emphasized by her grasp of the mango tree, which becomes laden with ripened fruit at her touch. With her left hand, she points to an amorous couple (mithuna) in the lower register. In Indian art, images of loving couples embracing are auspicious motifs that symbolize prosperity and fecundity.

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