Works of Art

AP3101

 

Uma

Tamilnadu, 13th-14th century

copper alloy

Height 15 ½ in, 39.4 cm

Provenance: Jaipaul Galleries, Philadelphia, 1970s

 

The elegant sway of this goddess’ body in tribhanga pose, a classic triple-bend posture, with its softly molded forms, swelling belly and firm breasts, all point to a thirteenth century date for this beautiful bronze. Rather than the common crown types seen in other bronzes for goddesses of various types, here it is clearly an elaborate jeweled coiffure mimicking Parvati or Uma’s husband Shiva’s jata-mukuta. The sculptor has carefully modeled the details; the jewelry is crisp and rests gently on the body. An intricate girdle interspersed with cloth and festoons of jewels contrasts nicely with the soft, rounded forms of her body. She wears a lot of jewelry, but it doesn’t overpower the form in any way. The manner in which the sacred thread undulates over her body and between her breasts enlivens the figure. One arms falls casually to her side while the other is lifted in a gesture suggesting that it once held a flower. The diaphanous material of her garment is suggested with subtle folds seen in the fabric.