Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Jyeshtha Flanked by Her Children

Period:
Chola period (880–1279)
Date:
9th–10th century
Culture:
India (Tamil Nadu)
Medium:
Granite
Dimensions:
H. 32 1/2 in. (82.5 cm); W. 27 1/8 in. (68.9 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Doris Wiener, 1986
Accession Number:
1986.512
Not on view
Jyestha is the goddess of bad fortune, embodying all that is inauspicious. As the embodiment of disease and poverty, she is worshiped to prevent such misfortunes. Here, she is seen enthroned, holding a blue lotus (nilotpala) and flanked by her crow-headed standard (dhvaja). Alongside sit her daughter and her bull-headed son, carrying a club. Jyestha is placated by devotees fearful of infant diseases; in eastern India she is specifically associated with smallpox. Her earliest appearance is in northern India in the fourth century; in the south, a major cult developed, as witnessed by her depiction at the early eighth-century Pallava-period Kailashanatha temple in Kanchipuram. Her cult appears to have waned in the post-medieval era.
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