An ivory fertility ringstone North India, Shunga period, 2nd century BCE
Lot 1
An ivory fertility ringstone North India, Shunga period, 2nd century BCE
Sold for US$ 25,000 inc. premium
Auction Details
An ivory fertility ringstone North India, Shunga period, 2nd century BCE An ivory fertility ringstone North India, Shunga period, 2nd century BCE An ivory fertility ringstone North India, Shunga period, 2nd century BCE
Lot Details
An ivory fertility ringstone
North India, Shunga period, 2nd century BCE
The top surface rounded with repeating ornamental palmettes, the reverse with standing yakshis in animated poses, holding flowers, the inner edge with squatting goddesses.
4 3/4 in. (12 in.) diameter

Footnotes

  • Friezes of squatting goddess, bracing for childbirth, decorate the fertility ring for progeny. Besides worship of the Great Mother, a divinity extending beyond sexual and procreative preoccupations, this cult of Lajja Gauri spread throughout the Maurya and Shunga empires at the end of the last millennium BCE.

    The Shunga dynasty controlled much of the eastern part of the Indian sub-continent from around 185 BCE to 73 BCE. It was founded by Pusyamitra Shunga, the commander-in-chief of the last Mauryan ruler, whom he assassinated. Shunga is credited with expanding the great stupa at Sanchi and erecting the gateways carved with images of auspicious fertility spirits, known as yakshas and yakshis closely related in form to the present lot.

    Compare the treatment of the human forms on an ivory fragment depicting the Moon God Chandra(?) in His Chariot with Wife and Attendant in the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004.173. See also Lerner & Kossak, The Lotus Transcendent: Indian and Southeast Asian Art from the Samuel Eilenberg Collection, New York, 1991, nos 2-4 for related ringstones of the same period. Also compare an ivory plaque in the Polsky Collection, see Andrew Topsfield (ed.), In the Realm of Gods and Kings: Arts of India, London, 2004, no. 106.

    Provenance:
    Private Collection, France, early 1990's

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the correct measurements should read 4 3/4 inches (12 centimeters) in diameter.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Mark Rasmussen
    Specialist - Southeast Asian, Indian and Himalayan Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 917 206 1688
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9009
  2. Edward Wilkinson
    Specialist - Southeast Asian, Indian and Himalayan Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, United States 90046
    Work +1 323 436 5430
    FaxFax: + 323 850 5843