South Indian / Celestial Entertainer / Western Chalukyan period, late 11th-early 12th centurySouth Indian
Celestial Entertainer
Western Chalukyan period, late 11th-early 12th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Indian Sub-Continent; Indian
Creator Dates/Places: South Indian
Creator Active Place: South Indian
Creator Name-CRT: South Indian
Title: Celestial Entertainer
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1067
Creation End Date: 1133
Creation Date: Western Chalukyan period, late 11th-early 12th century
Creation Place: India, Karnataka
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Schist (metasiltstone)
Dimensions: H. 39 3/4 in. (101 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.031
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: Idealized feminine forms often adorned the exterior and interior of Hindu temples. Their function was to entertain the gods, but also to remind the faithful of the sanctity of the temple--which, like a heaven, is filled continually with music and dance. This celestial entertainer under a flowering tree was originally a bracket situated above one of eight pillars in a Hindu temple hallway and was intended to be viewed from below. She holds a pair of cymbals commonly used by dancers, and her dense jewelry, broad shoulders, tiny waist, and full thighs are typical of sculpture from Karnataka. The exaggerated and elongated proportions, oval face, and delicate features distinguish this dancer from her northern counterparts, along with her elaborate jewelry. She wears three necklaces of varying lengths, enormous hoop earrings (now broken), armlets, and anklets. A jeweled girdle from which are suspended several lengths of interwoven beads, one reaching to her ankles, encircle her hips. Finally, garlands of beads decorate her shoulders, one length of beads falling to her knees. The staggering complexity and three-dimensionality of this decoration attest to the sheer technical virtuosity of sculptors working in India at the height of Hinduism and temple building.
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 18.
Related Document Description: Newman, Richard. The Stone Sculpture of India: A Study of the Materials Used by Indian Sculptors from ca. 2nd Century B.C. to the 16th Century. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Art Museums, Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, 1984, pp. 17, 20, 25-27, 65-66, 84.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.031
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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