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

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

Browse: 4 objects

Reference URL


Send e-mail

Contact us about this object

Send e-mail

Send to a friend

Figure of Surya, the Sun god


    • First floor | Room 32 | India from 600

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

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

    Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum

    This slightly unusual bronze figure of Sūrya, the Sun god [see EA1972.45], probably dates from as early as the end of the 7th century. Except for his boots, there are no specifically Kuṣāṇa traits to his costume: his crown, the way his hair is dressed, and the scarf looped down between his two arms with fluttery ends, are all reminiscent of certain generally small reliefs in potstone, found in north-west India and probably of late Gupta or early post-Gupta date; the Museum has one such fragment [EAX.244]. So is the shape of the little cape or bolero over the god’s shoulders, perhaps a distant echo of the Greek schamys.

    The principal figure holds a highly stylized lotus in each hand. A massive sword hangs by his left side, in contrast to the small dirk suspended horizontally below the belt on many Kashmiri male Hindu gods. The two attendants are called Piṅgala, who may well hold, as prescribed, a pen in one hand and an ink pot in the other, and Daṇḍȧ who, as his name implies, holds a staff (daṇḍa). They too wear boots and, instead of the Kuṣāṇa square cut tunic or a coat, the same long gown, slit at the sides, as Sūrya. The eyes of all the figures are inlaid in silver and there is a small inlaid gold dot in the middle of Sūrya’s forehead.

© 2013 University of Oxford - Ashmolean Museum