Sarasvati is variously depicted in sculptures, sometimes as a river according to the popular belief, at the confluence of Ganga, the Yamuna, and Sarasvati at Triveni Sarigam, Prayag as in cave no 16, at Ellora: or, for instance with Vishnu, in the Pala sculptures and also as an independent goddess of learning and music as in this image.
Profusely decorated in the manner of the Hoyasala images, she wears a big hasli round her neck, thick kadas round her wrists and ankles, a long-beaded necklace, the lower part of which is broken, big earrings, a big tiara arranged in three horizontal decorative tiers on the upper part and a belt which is fashionable with the women of Karnataka even today. A Yajnopavita passes across her upper abdomen. She holds a veena and a noose in her upper hands, an akshamala in the lower right while the lower left is broken. The veena and the noose are quite stylised and are aligned in length. The dandi (rod) of the veena is well modeled into a rounded bamboo, though the tiny gourd only provides a suggestion of the proper Tumba or the gourd towards the top end. The parikara around her is neatly carved with Torana, Makara, and other intricate designs, possible only in this kind of fine-grained stone. The goddess has a female attendant on either side.
12th century CE
15.5 x 70.5 x 27 cm