Temple Gallery

Established 1959

Head of a Deity - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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QQ005. Head of a Deity

India, perhaps late Pala period
11th or 12th century
Black schist
Height 24 cm (with stand 32 cm)Click here to convert metric size to imperial

£1,200Click here to convert price to USD or EUR

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A good introduction the art of the Pala period can be seen at in an article by Susan and John Huntingdon in Orientations Magazine, Leaves from the Bodhi Tree: The Art of Pāla India (8th-12th centuries) and its International Legacy. October, 1989. The authors, discussing the ' Pāla international style', refer to the indebtedness - in varying degree - of all the countries of South-east Asia to 'India's cultural charisma.'

The sculptural mannerisms in our figure are wholly Indian and that country is the likely origin, However this cannot be asserted with complete confidence because, as we learn from the Huntingdons, the style was sometimes adapted to the indigenous manner of the local recipients or it was faithfully reproduced.

While the elaborate conical headdress is characteristic of Pāla art (or earlier) it is difficult, without more identifying attributes, to say whether the figure represents Vishnu or some other deity.

A bronze standing Vishnu published by Rossi and Rossi has a similar headdress

Vishnu. India, Southern Region; Bronze, 55.2 cm (21 ¾ in), Chola period, 11th century

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