Artist Unknown (Indian, ),
, Chola period (ca. 907-1053)
stone, 40 1/2 x 14 x 7 in.; 102.87 x 35.56 x 17.78 cm
Mengedoht-Hatz Bequest Fund Purchase, 1964.623
This carved stone figure personifies the earth and is one of many sacred images that decorated Hindu temples in South India. Called Bhudevi, she is a consort of Vishnu, one of the most important Hindu deities, and is usually depicted with him. In her right hand she holds a fly whisk, and she stands in a tribhanga, or “thrice-bent,” pose. She is the sculptural descendant of ancient Indian nature spirits, whose ample breasts and full hips symbolized fertility.