Column Surround with Pensive Woman

Period: Eastern Javanese period, Majapahit kingdom

Date: 14th–15th century

Culture: Indonesia (Java)

Medium: Terracotta

Dimensions: H. 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Marie-Hélène and Guy Weill, in memory of William Wolff, 1992

Accession Number: 1992.151


Ornamental roof tiles often decorated houses in the capital of the East Javanese kingdom of Majapahit near the present-day village of Trowulan. Sculptures, molded in clay and sun dried or baked at low temperatures, enhanced and protected the columns of these open, pavilion-like buildings. In this surround for such a column, a woman rests her right elbow on a stylized rock cropping. Dressed in an orthodox Majapahit fashion with a hair arrangement typical of the period, she supports her head with her right hand and gazes outward. Figures such as this often illustrated popular legends of the period, and it is possible that she was part of a larger narrative series.