A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PARVATI TAMIL NADU, CHOLA PERIOD, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY

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Lot 827
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PARVATI
TAMIL NADU, CHOLA PERIOD, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY

Sold for US$ 212,575 inc. premium
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PARVATI
TAMIL NADU, CHOLA PERIOD, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY
20 3/8 in. (52 cm) high

Footnotes

  • Parvati, or Uma as she is more commonly known in South India, is portrayed here standing in an elegant tribhanga pose. Her graceful figure is of slender yet voluptuous modeling with high rounded breasts, a pinched waist, and a supple belly above which three lines demark her solar plexus. Uma has a beguiling gaze, through long half-moon eyes, set within her gentle oval face. Her left arm lingers seductively in lolahasta mudra, mimicking the tail of a cow. Her right is bent, raising her hand in katakamukha mudra, once holding a separately cast flower. She wears a tall crown, called a karanda mukata, of piled rings diminishing in size and culminating in a lotus bud. The concentric patterns within her crown are repeated throughout her necklaces, armbands, girdle, and garment, embellishing the bronze's texture.

    While the subject is modeled in the classic Chola idiom, this particular figure distinguishes itself by the lifelike fluidity of its stance, its amiable countenance, and the attention to detail its creator has lavished on Uma's ornamentation. Bijoux cup the back of her ears. Luxurious locks of hair brush against her shoulders. Her tresses direct our gaze down towards the auspicious marriage string (mangalasutra) tied around her neck. A fine garment is tied with a fan-shaped splay above the small of her back, and decorative ribbons swirl across the front of her thighs. Uma—whose suprasensuous form embodies shakti, the primordial cosmic energy—is portrayed here in a sensitive and intimate interpretation of divine femininity. The sculpture is a testament to the technical genius of the artist, epitomizing the confident and time-honored aesthetic canon of the Chola empire.

    Following Sivaramamurti's stylistic chronology, the figure exemplifies the mature Chola style of the 12th century. Her elongated makara earrings and shoulder tassels that no longer terminate in the shape of a pipal leaf are generally indicative of the 11th century or later (Sivaramamurti, South Indian Bronzes, New Delhi, 1963, pp.29-31). The lines accentuating her solar plexus and the relatively simple treatment of her bangles and necklaces are customary in the 12th and 13th centuries. Yet, this sculpture is less mannered and more svelte than many of the 13th century, including an Uma formerly in the Ford collection (Pal, Indo-Asian Art, Tokyo, 1971, no.19) and another sold at Christie's, New York, 19 March 2013, lot 237. Therefore, a 12th-century attribution is most appropriate. A good, close stylistic comparison for this bronze is a 12th-century seated Uma which is part of a Somaskanda ensemble, published in Dehejia, The Sensuous and Sacred, New York, 2002, p.131, no.16.

    Provenance
    Carlebach Gallery, New York, 3 July 1951
    Private New England Collection
Contacts
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PARVATI TAMIL NADU, CHOLA PERIOD, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PARVATI TAMIL NADU, CHOLA PERIOD, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PARVATI TAMIL NADU, CHOLA PERIOD, CIRCA 12TH CENTURY
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