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Brahmani, approx. 875–950

Brahmani, approx. 875–950.

Brahmani, approx. 875–950. India; Kanchipuram or Kaveripakkam, Tamil Nadu state Granite, possibly hornfels. The Avery Brundage Collection, B60S47+.

Yogini temples typically included sculptures of seven female goddesses known as matrikas (“mother-goddesses”). These feminized versions of Hindu gods are identifiable by the most common attributes of their male forms. The goddess here is the female version of Brahma, who is recognized by his four heads. This feature is seen on the goddess as well (here the fourth head is understood to be at the back). She also holds Brahma’s prayer beads in her upper right hand, and his animal vehicle, the goose, is carved between her feet. Her hair, the matted locks of a renouncer, is piled high, and her left hand forms the wish-granting gesture; her missing right hand would have formed the gesture of reassurance.

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