• Missing image
  • 1979.031-view-a
  • 1979.031-view-b
  • 1979.031-view-a.jpg

Celestial Entertainer

Late 11th-early 12th century

Karnataka, India

Schist (metasiltstone)

H. 39 3/4 x W. 13 1/2 x D. 6 1/2 in. (H. 101 cm)

Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.31

Licensing inquiries

The tenon on the top of this sculpture of a celestial entertainer playing the cymbals and dancing beneath a tree indicates that it was once a pillar bracket from the interior of a temple. Such decorative brackets were used to disguise the junction between the pillar and the ceiling and were often carved with the auspicious figures of women. This figure's broad shoulders, tiny waist, and full thighs suggest that the sculpture was carved in the southern part of India’s Karnataka state. Exuberant detail distinguishes the depiction of both her hair and her jewelry, which consists of necklaces of various lengths, enormous hoop earrings (now broken), armlets, anklets, and a jeweled girdle. (Further comments suggest alternative location)