Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Lotus-Headed Fertility Goddess Lajja Gauri

ca. 6th century
India (Madhya Pradesh)
H. 4 1/16 in. (10.3 cm); W. 4 1/16 in. (10.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Bequest of Samuel Eilenberg, 1998
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 236
Lajja Gauri is shown in a birthing posture but does not display the swollen belly of one about to give birth, which suggests that the image is of sexual fecundity. The lotus flower in place of her head makes this association with fertility explicit. This expression of the concept of the female body as the embodiment of life-affirming forces is perhaps the most extreme in Indian iconography. At her left is a diminutive kneeling figure, undoubtedly the donor. This miniature sculpture was reportedly found in the Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh, central India. Such imagery is rare and confined to the first millennium in central India and the Deccan.
Samuel Eilenberg , New York (until d. 1998; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lotus Transcendent: Indian and Southeast Asian Art from the Samuel Eilenberg Collection," October 2, 1991–June 28, 1992.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Pala-Sena Period," 2007.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Mother India: The Goddess in Indian Painting," June 29, 2011–November 27, 2011.

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