Buff sandstone with earth pigments, Madhya Pradesh, Central India, 10th/11th Century The two figures stand frontally slightly turned towards each other with two hands overlapping and holding a pleated sash that wraps around the arm of the left figure. Each figure sports a long beard and groomed mustache; their hair is pulled back into a thick knot; each face is defined by high arching brows tapering into long pointed noses and distended earlobes indicating their royal stature. The left figure's left hand is raised in the middle in pranamudra, surmounted by a zoomorphic naga like image. Each figure is dressed in diaphanous patterned dotis, secured by pleated sashes. 14 ¾ in. (37.5 cm) high
This pair is likely a king and priest, performing an unknown ritual. The pair share the characteristics of high status individuals in Chandella sculpture. However the boots and potbelly of the figure on the right is indicative of royalty. By contrast the figure on the left is likely a priest.
The carrying of the cloth is very similar to the an image of Krishna and his brother Balaram defeating the dhobi, from the State Museum, Bhopal. While this piece is very likely of a different subject matter there is a shared tradition of the presentation of a sash.
A notable comparison is a patron image on the northern niche of the superstructure of the Lakshmana temple (CA 954). The Chandella King Yasovarman and his son Dhangadeva are positioned in an almost identical pose. The presentation of the sash and the same mudra showing up in both images may indicate that this was also a patron image.
Provenance: Private Collection, New York Acquired from Nasli Heeramaneck in 1971
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