A sandstone stele of Kurukulla Eastern India, Pala Period, 9th/10th century
Lot 84
A sandstone stele of Kurukulla Eastern India, Pala Period, 9th/10th century
US$ 50,000 - 70,000
£31,000 - 43,000
withdrawn

Lot Details
A sandstone stele of Kurukulla
Eastern India, Pala Period, 9th/10th century
The young goddess seated in sattvasana above a broad-leafed lotus throne, with her four arms she offers the gesture of assurance with a lotus blossom issuing from the center of her primary right palm, and her other, limp and upraised, recoiling from a fired arrow, in her left hands she clutches the stem of a lotus which blossoms by her shoulder with curved petals and robust stamen, and her slack bow, she is adorned with a sacred thread that mimics her curves as it runs across her waist and over her breast with revealed nipple, and bedecked with armbands and a necklace of classic Pala style, her face with a sweet smile carved in high relief and slender, undulating eyes, flanked by large earrings piercing her lobes, and centered by a rectangular urna, below a tiara with side ribbons flailing upwards on the petal-shaped mandorla, and two leaves flanking the lotus-born Buddha Amitabha at center with hands resting in dhyana mudra presented before her five-tiered rounded chignon crowned with a blooming lotus bud.
28 1/8 in. (71.4 cm) high

Footnotes

  • Kurukulla is one of the most alluring deities in Buddhist art. Thought to have initially been a tribal goddess originating from Udayana in Swat Valley, she is the goddess of enchantment, magnetism, and witchcraft. Liturgically, she is invoked to subdue those evil spirits, demons, and humans who work against the welfare of humanity and its spiritual evolution, while in popular practice, she is called on for the success a new enterprise, to win court cases, or to bewitch others. In this regard, the Arya Tara Kurukulla Kalpa, outlines magical rites for enchanting and subjugating others, curing frigidity and impotence, and acquiring wealth and power.

    Ranking among the top tier of sculpture produced in the early Pala period, the present lot exudes the essence and affect of the deity. Just as Kurukulla's flower-arrows symbolize the desire she incites in her targets, the sculpture brims and overflows with floral imagery at her pedestal, mandorla, right hand, left hand, bow, crown, and hair. Her bow is slack and gentle, her face is kind and cheerful, her breasts are large and revealed. Depicting the youthful deity with sensuous proportions and her four arms with the impression of physiognomic accuracy, the piece matches the high caliber of a stele of Parnashabari in the 
Bangladesh National Museum (see the Huntington Archive no. 0009331).

    Provenance:
    Private Collection, New York
    Sotheby's, New York, 25 March 1999, lot 154

Saleroom notices

  • Please note this item has been withdrawn.
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