VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Tree Deity ( Shalabhanjika or Vrikshaka)
MA 3176
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

In a style reminiscent of Chandella art from Khajuraho, the artist masterfully celebrates the generous, rounded and sensual curves of the female form whose mere beauty was considered an auspicious sight.

History of the Object
Tree deities – shalabhanjika or vriksha devata) were one of Ancient and Medieval Indian sculptors’ favorite motifs. Dryads or nymphs associated with trees – whose trunks they sometimes entwined with one of their legs or whose branches they clasped – embodied nature’s vital, regenerative force. The mere presence of the deities or the touch of their hand or foot was enough to make the tree they embraced with their voluptuous bodies bloom, women’s procreative energy thus being symbolically transformed into nutritive sap. Seeing them was therefore beneficial to devotees, for it represented abundance and fecundity; hence their repeated presence, in graceful processions, on the walls of Indian temples and sanctuaries.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Sandstone 
Measurements
Height 78 cm. Length 38 cm.  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
India; Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan 
Geography
India 
Time period
AD 10th century ~ AD 11th century 
Creation date
10th Century - 11th Century 
Function
worship 
Acquisition
Acquired by the museum in 1969 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
State property, France 
Museum
Musée National des arts asiatiques Guimet 
Credit line
 

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