Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Head of a yogini or goddess


    • First floor | Room 32 | India from 600

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Publications online

  • Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum by J. C. Harle and Andrew Topsfield

    Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum

    In Indian art, most detached heads sculptured in stone have been broken off their bodies, as in the case of [EA1963.27, EA1961.138, EAOS.61, and EAX.245]. In Rajasthan or Gujarat, however, heads such as this one replaced the tip of the central spine of each of the four sides of the śikhara (“tower”) of the “northern” types shrines built at a relatively late date. They are called yoginīmukhas (yoginī heads) and presumably represent one of the minor female deities or demonesses who follow Durgā. In certain other parts of India, lions or other figures occupy this position.

    The style or approximations to it is most often seen in small brass heads from the same regions of western India and, except for folk art (there are traces of folk style here), represents the final purely Indian stylistic development there before the admixture of European elements.

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