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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Room 12 | India 2500 BC-AD 600 gallery

Explore the early development of Indian art, from the artefacts of the Indus Valley to the Hindu and Buddhist sculpture of north India and Gandhara.

Early India gallery main image

North India: goddesses and yakshis, 200 BC-AD 200

Terracotta was widely used in early India to make animal and human figurines, as well as vessels, toys or bangles. The simplest hand-modelled female figurines, with split-pellet eyes and appliqué ornaments, may represent mother goddesses. More refined in form are the moulded plaques depicting female figures adorned with elaborate headdresses and jewellery. The most famous example of all is the Ashmolean’s plaque discovered at Tamluk (EAX.201). Figures of this type may represent goddesses or yakshis, female nature spirits. They have been found across north India, in bronze and ivory as well as terracotta. Figures of yakshas or male nature spirits are also often found.

Plaque with yakshi (nature spirit) or mother goddess (EAX.201) Plaque with yakshi (nature spirit) or mother goddess (EAX.201)   Mould for a plaque with a bejewelled goddess or yakshi (nature spirit) with female attendant (EA1993.35) Mould for a plaque with a bejewelled goddess or yakshi (nature spirit) with female attendant (EA1993.35)
Plaque with female figure (EA1999.47) Plaque with female figure (EA1999.47)   Plaque fragment with pair of lovers (mithuna) (EA1993.389) Plaque fragment with pair of lovers (mithuna) (EA1993.389)   Plaque depicting a couple making love (mithuna) (EA1998.39) Plaque depicting a couple making love (mithuna) (EA1998.39)
Female figure with a tall headress (EA1996.64) Female figure with a tall headress (EA1996.64)   Female figure (EA1973.7) Female figure (EA1973.7)   Plaque with semi-draped female figure (EA1994.74) Plaque with semi-draped female figure (EA1994.74)   Terracotta female figure (EA1958.3) Terracotta female figure (EA1958.3)
Vessel in the form of a turtle (EA1997.179) Vessel in the form of a turtle (EA1997.179)   Male figure leading a goat (EA1999.27) Male figure leading a goat (EA1999.27)   Mirror handle with a figure of a yaksha, or nature spirit (EA1991.54) Mirror handle with a figure of a yaksha, or nature spirit (EA1991.54)    Female figure with heavy anklets (EA2000.41) Female figure with heavy anklets (EA2000.41)
Female head with sun and moon tattoo on cheeks (EA2000.25) Female head with sun and moon tattoo on cheeks (EA2000.25)   Fragment of a jeweller's mould with animals and birds in relief (EA1996.74) Fragment of a jeweller's mould with animals and birds in relief (EA1996.74)
Notice

Objects may have since been removed or replaced from a gallery. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis, so contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.

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