A Hindu Goddess


A Hindu Goddess



Several goddesses from Nepal, like this goddess are depicted seated in lalitasana with a small lotus supporting her extended right foot. A similar larger lotus would have served as her seat. She has four arms, two of which are in front of her torso. The right holds a kapala and the left displays the vyakhyana gesture. The attribute in the upper right hand is missing; but the corresponding left hand holds a lotus. On her forehead is clearly etched a vertical third eye. This together with the skullcup and the vyakhyanamudra clearly makes her a Hindu goddess, specifically a mother goddess or Matrika. This type of image, either seven or eight of which represent the group of mother goddesses, is as characteristically Nepali as is Vasudhara.
Unfortunately her upper right hand is empty which usually holds the discrete attribute that helps exact identification. In the Hindu context, the lotus is an emblem of Lakshmi or her spouse Vishnu. While Lakshmi is not generally regarded as a
Matrika, the probability is that this figure represents Vaishnavi, who is one of the group. The upper right hand then may have held a wheel.
Whatever the exact identification, this bronze remains a fine example of Newar aesthetic of the 14th century. Elegantly poised and proportioned with a beautiful face and chiselled features, the unknown goddess is an embodiment of ideal beauty and natural grace. Her slim rounded limbs are softly modelled and exude a restrained sensuality typical of the female form in Nepali sculpture. The facial features are sharp and delicate with a gentle expression and the ornaments are
exquisitely detailed.

Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala Collection


Himalayan Art

Object Type



Gilt copper alloy with semiprecious stone inlay






14th century CE




12 x 11.5 x 20 cms.