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)
Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Bequest of Samuel Eilenberg, 1998
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.
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