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Celestial dancer (Devata)

Central India, Madhya Pradesh

Not on view

The Hindu temple is conceived as a heavenly abode for the presiding deity. The building's stepped, indented, and towering exterior evokes the mountains of Indra's heavens, home to the assembly of gods as well as celestial beauties, dancers, and musicians. This life-size sandstone sculpture is an extraordinary rending of a heavenly celebrant performing in honor of the gods. The dancer's face and body are treated according to prescribed canons of beauty. Her body is contorted in an improbably pose, her legs projecting to her right while her upper torso and head turn sharply left. The extreme flexion reflects dance positions (karunas and sthanas) described in the Natyasastra, an ancient dramatic arts treatise. It is understood in Indian aesthetics that such positions enhance the appreciation of beauty.

#7970. Dancing Celestial



  1. 7970. Dancing Celestial
  2. 122. The Director's Tour, Second Floor: Dancing Celestial
Celestial dancer (Devata), Sandstone, Central India, Madhya Pradesh

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