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Railing Pillar: Female Deity (Yakshi) and an Amorous Couple (Mithuna), c. 100 B.C.E.

India: Madhya Pradesh, Bharhut, -125-105
58 x 11 x 8-1/4 in. (147.3 x 27.9 x 21 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

Not on View

This pillar once belonged to the Great Stupa (reliquary mound) at Bharhut. The prominent female in the upper register is a goddess associated with fertility and nature, emphasized by her grasp of the mango tree, which becomes laden with ripened fruit at her touch. With her left hand, she points to an amorous couple (mithuna) in the lower register. In Indian art, images of loving couples embracing are auspicious motifs that symbolize prosperity and fecundity.

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