1700 AD to 1900 AD
6″ (15.2cm) high x 6″ (15.2cm) wide
Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, although she is also venerated in Buddhist monuments. Often appearing alongside Vishnu as one of his consorts she also has an independent iconography. This polychromed stone stele depicts an event known as ‘Gajalakshmi’ (Lakshmi bathed by elephants) in Hindu tradition. Two elephants, supported on lotus flowers, consecrate the goddess with water from an upturned waterpot. This act is meant to symbolise abundance and prosperity. The elephants represent the directions and the rain clouds. Lakshmi is closely associated with the lotus flower, symbolising her purity and spiritual power. In the sculpture this is reinforced by the two lotus buds, with green stems and gold flowers, which she holds in her second set of arms. Seated in the lotus position, she carries what appear to resemble a stone and a gold ring in her lower arms. This is unusual in representations of the Gajalakshmi. It is more common for the lower-right hand to exhibit the gesture of charity and the lower-left the gesture of reassurance.
The gilding and polychromy add considerable charm to this piece. The figures are set within a red frame with circular gold motifs. The elephants’ backs are adorned with gold carpets in which the details of the design are outlined in black. Although there is some damage to the polychromy it is clear that the goddess was dressed in luxurious clothing and costly jewels. This was appropriate given her association with wealth. The carving, especially that of the elephants, is particularly fine.Login to view price