Four-Armed Goddess, possibly Sarada

Date: late 9th century

Culture: India (Jammu and Kashmir, ancient kingdom of Kashmir)

Medium: Chlorite schist

Dimensions: H. 12 3/8 in. (31.4 cm); W. 7 7/8 in. (20 cm); D. 3 in. (7.6 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Perry J. Lewis, 1984

Accession Number: 1984.488


Two small male attendants on a stepped pedestal flank this standing four-armed female deity. The deity is richly adorned with jewels and wears a trilobed tiara. Her elaborate costume includes the pointed tunic so often worn by females in Kashmiri sculptures. All of this is rendered with an unusual and meticulous precision, providing a useful description of costume of the period. The deity holds a sword in her lower right hand and a bell with attached ribbons in her lower left. Her raised front right hand is missing but was probably held in the fear-allaying gesture known as the abhayamudra. In her raised front left hand she holds what appears to be the head of a ram, but which probably represents a rhyton. Incised on her forehead is a vertical third eye. These characteristics identify the deity as Durga, a powerful and potent form of the goddess Devi.