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This small bronze is an early Jain image of Ambika (or ‘Mother’) and dates to around the tenth century. The goddess is the yaksi or dedicated attendant deity of Neminath, the 22nd Tirthankara.
The goddess sits cross-legged on a small dais. She is shown here with four arms. In the lower right hand she holds a mango, one of her identifying attributes. In the lower left, she holds one of her sons, either Priyankara or Shubhankara. The upper hands hold other attributes. Her full breasts emphasis the ‘mother’ aspect. An aureole rise behind her. A small seated figure can be seen above her crown. This is likely to be Neminath.
The image has a fine, encrusted and varied patina consistent with a tenth century dating.
van Alphen, J., Steps to Liberation: 2,500 Years of Jain Art and Religion,Ethnographic Museum Antwerp, 2000.
Pal, P., The Peaceful Liberators: Jain Art from India,Thames & Hudson/Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1995.
Pal, P., Art from the Indian Subcontinent: Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Yale University Press, 2003.