Seated Female Ascetic

Period: Eastern Javanese period, Majapahit kingdom

Date: 15th–16th century

Culture: Indonesia (Java)

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: H. 6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Victoria Chan-Palay, 1997

Accession Number: 1997.435


Small bronze sculptures of women and children were produced in some number during the Majapahit period. The function of these objects remains unclear. They may have been used as dolls, or as substitutes for certain individuals in magical rituals or other ceremonies. Her thin arms and shaved head suggest that this figure may represent an ascetic. She is seated with left leg folded beneath her, and wears a sarong, serpentine armlets, and a necklace with leaf-shaped pendants and bands around her wrists and ankles. She has a serene expression, heavy-lidded downcast eyes, and prominent arched eyebrows.