Sixth century stone sculpture of Hindu goddess discovered in Kashmir

Friday, September 4, 2009

SRINAGAR - An ancient sculpture of Hindu Goddess of wealth Gajalakshmi has recently been discovered at Nagbal Lesser village in Jammu and Kashmir.

The sculpture, carved out of brownish limestone, is now kept for further examination at the office of Archives Archaeology and Museum in Srinagar. It will be shifted to Sri Pratap Singh Museum for public display later.

“As far as the object (sculpture) is concerned it is very important. According to our earlier examination, the statue dates back to the 6th or 7th century. It’s of brownish colour and from the perspective of craftsmanship, it is finely chiselled out,” said Khurshid Ahmad Qadri, Director, Archives Archaeology and Museums of Jammu and Kashmir.

The statue, measuring nine inches in height and five inches in width, is seated on the lotus throne placed between two lions. The main sculpture is enclosed in a stone frame, the top of which projects the shape of elephant motifs towards the head of the deity.

The idol holds a lotus in her right hand and cornucopia in her left hand. The other end of the drapery covering the lower body of the sculpture does not go behind its shoulder but is wrapped around in pleats beneath the chest of the deity.

The carving and costumes of the sculpture speak volumes about skilled craftsmanship of the ancient Kashmiri art.

“As far as its art is concerned, this art form connects it to the Gandhara School of Art. The Gandhara School of Art was founded in the first century BC. The theme cultivated by Gandhara artists later reached Kashmir. The costume we get to see in this sculpture shows a confluence of Greek and Indian art forms,” said Iqbal Ahmad, a historian.

This is the only sculpture found from the Lesser Kokernag area of Kashmir so far. However, the presence of pottery in an around the Lesser village reveals presence of some ancient settlements. By Afzal Bhat (ANI)

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