Swat Valley, 2 female deities

8th century, Swat Valley, female deity, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie's.

8th century, Swat Valley, female deity, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This unidentified deity holds the stem of a lotus flower in one hand while the other rests over the hip. We have seen a few sculptures of Tara standing this way but with the lotus in the left hand and the other on the hip. Of course, the above photo may be the wrong way round, in which case we would be looking at Tara. Part of her hair is piled up on her head, the rest is braided and falls over her shoulders. She wears a necklace with squarish beads and matching earrings. There is a halo behind her head.

8th century, Swat Valley, Tara, bronze, private collection, published by Boran Asian Art

8th century, Swat Valley, Tara, bronze, private collection, published by Boran Asian Art on http://www.boranasianart.com.

This Tara has a very ornate and unusual hairstyle and headdress. She is adorned with beaded jewellery and a celestial scarf, and wears the tight-fitted bodice associated with Kashmir and the Swat Valley area and a pleated lower garment knotted at the waist. Her eyes are inlaid with silver. Her right hand is held out in the gesture of supreme generosity, the left hand is cupped to hold an object rather than the stem of a lotus as would be expected from Tara, but in the Swat Valley area she sometimes holds the stem upright in her hand.

 

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