An ivory fertility ringstone North India, Shunga period, 2nd century BCE

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Lot 1
An ivory fertility ringstone
North India, Shunga period, 2nd century BCE

Sold for US$ 25,000 inc. premium
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.
Contacts
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
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