Help us bring life to art, and art to lives. Make a donation.

Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Loving Couple (Mithuna)

Kushan period
1st–2nd century
India (Uttar Pradesh, Mathura)
Double-molded terracotta
D. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm); Diam. 3 15/16 in. (10 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Cynthia Hazen Polsky, 1986
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 235
Depictions of loving couples are ubiquitous in early Indian art, occurring in stupa gateways and rock-cut shrines. Although their specific meaning is obscure, they are interpreted as an auspicious life-affirming presence. Another disk, perhaps from the same mold, was excavated at the early urban center of Sonkh, in Mathura, the Kushan-era capital of north India.
Cynthia Hazen Polsky , New York (until 1986; donated to MMA)
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Kushan Sculpture," November 13, 1985–January 5, 1986.

New York. Asia Society. "Kushan Sculpture," February 13, 1986–April 6, 1986.

Seattle Art Museum. "Kushan Sculpture," May 13, 1986–July 13, 1986.

New York. Asia Society. "In the Realm of Gods and Kings: Arts of India, Selections from the Polsky Collections and The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 14, 2004–December 10, 2004.

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.

Related Objects

Standing Buddha Offering Protection

Date: late 5th century Medium: Red sandstone Accession: 1979.6 On view in:Gallery 236

Crowned Bodhisattva

Date: 3rd–early 4th century Medium: Sandstone Accession: 2016.701 On view in:Gallery 235

Standing Indra

Date: ca. 2nd century Medium: Sandstone Accession: 1987.218.12a, b On view in:Not on view

Lion Standing on a Pillar Capital

Date: 5th–6th century Medium: Terracotta Accession: 28.159.7 On view in:Gallery 236

Head of a Demonic Male Deity

Date: ca. 2nd century Medium: Mottled red sandstone Accession: 1986.492 On view in:Gallery 235