Unknown10th century AD - 11th century AD

Museo d'Arte Orientale

Museo d'Arte Orientale
Torino, Italy

This stele sculpture, finely hollowed around the body of the large central figure, shows Tārā flanked by two attendants. The panel is finely crafted in all its parts: at the feet of the two minor figures there are four smaller figures kneeling on the ground, two on either side, in an attitude of devotion, while in the upper portion, two pairs of Apsarā and Gandharva pay homage to the goddess. The sculpture is framed at the top by the figures of the five dhyānibuddha sitting in the padmāsana posture between two small lateral stūpas. The figures of Tārā and the attendants are standing on a high moulded base, the central part of which protrudes forward, with two other sections stepped back on either side. Tārā is gracefully stepping forward with her right leg, emphasised by her protruding left hip. The deity is wearing a thin dress that clings to her legs with a fine horizontal pleating. A mekhalā decorated with small chains rests on her thighs and a long ribbon hangs between her legs. She has a keyūra with a complex multi-lobed design, heavy earrings and three necklaces of different shapes: a thin pearl necklace, a necklace with a large central jewel and a cord hanging down between her abundant breasts, and some light chains gently supported by the cups of the breasts. These ornaments, along with the slanted eyes, the thin, arched eyebrows and the narrow, straight nose are partly reminiscent of Khajuraho sculptures - but certainly display finer workmanship. The simple hairstyle, with a high bun on the head, has been depicted with a wavy edge that delimits the crown of hair and an embossed central parting on the forehead. The broken arms prevent the interpretation of any attributes held in the goddess’ hands. In the background of the panel, partly covered by the protruding mithuna figure, can be seen a halo with large floral petals framing Tārā’s head. On either side of the goddess there are two smaller female figures in clothes and a posture reminiscent of Tārā, except for their hairstyle, in which their heads are crowned with small disks. Each of the two attendants is holding a caurī with a long, powerful shaft in their hand closest to the goddess. Two pairs of figures are seated on the ground at their feet, one on either side, each with a male figure in front and female behind. The couples are wearing ornaments similar to those of the major figures; they have long hair tied in large buns and have their hands together in front of their chests in the devotional añjalimudrā gesture. Two pairs of Gandharva and Apsarā hover in the air above the attendants’ heads, level with Tārā’s face. The male figures, in front of their female companions, hold thick garlands in their hands.


  • Title: Tārā
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 10th century AD - 11th century AD
  • Physical Dimensions: w57 x h108 x d24 cm
  • Origins: India, Madhya Pradesh
  • Objects: Scultura
  • Provenance: Comune di Torino
  • Type: Sculptures
  • Rights: All Rights Reserved - MAO Museo d'Arte Orientale, Turin
  • Medium: Grey sandstone

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