2nd century BCE

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS)

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS)

Reminiscent of the gigantic yaksha sculptures from Mathura and Bharhut, this yaksha was positioned as a dvarapala of a Buddhist cave temple, at Pitalkhora. As suggested by Dr. M.N. Deshpande, this yaksha may be yaksha Pitangalya refered to in the Mahamayuri. It was customary to identify these yakshas by the name of the place they resided in.

This dvarapala yaksha, guarding cave no. 3, belongs to the earliest phase of Pitalkhora caves which remained active almost till the 6th century CE. His robust figure carved in the round must have been installed at the railing entrance. He has large elephantine ears symbolic of his supernatural power. He is richly attired like his other contemporaries – cleverly tied ushnisha (turban) with a crescent knot in the centre, exposing the intricate design of the border of the turban cloth in the front. This adornment specifies the style of Indian ornamentation of that period. Voluminous spiral earrings in his left ear, are a variety of Vaprakundala worn by the other yaksha figures, such as yaksha Manibhadra from Mathura. Generally, the Vaprakundala has a square decorative plate for the base to be fixed to the earlobe, which is missing. In fact all the yaksha figures at Pitalkhora are adorned with the same kind of earrings. He wears a set of four thick bracelets on each of his forearms, and an armlet adorns his left arm. His dhoti (unstitched lower garment) and uttariya unstitched upper garment) are closely pleated at the sash which holds the scabbard of his straight sword. His right hand holds the broken end of his heavy spear. His necklace, depicting typical Indian hollow moulded jewellery, is tied with two strings at both its ends. This holds the necklace and keeps it in place with a rosette-shaped bead at the back. This is one of the few magnificent remnants of the sculptures of this period from the region. The sculpture is mutilated below the knees. The earring and upper part of right hand were probably lost while removing it from the site.

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  • Title: Yaksha
  • Date Created: 2nd century BCE
  • Location: India
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Medium: Basalt Stone
  • Region: Pitalkhora, Aurangabad District Maharashtra
  • History of Style of Technique: By the early centuries of common era India was exporting muslin to the Roman Empire and also to Egypt and Arabia. Silk cloth was in demand and varieties of silks were available, one of which was China (Chinese) silk. People were aware of a range of textiles of which patola(vichitrapatolaka) requires special mention. The sculptures and coins of kings and soldiers of foreign origin show them in tunics, trousers, caps and high boots. However Indians seemed to prefer wearing unstitched clothes – dhoti (lower garment), uttariya (upper garment) and turban for men and, sari and dupatta for women.
  • Accession Number: S 66.58