This small porcelain sculpture represents a gaunt, sinewy bearded figure, who is naked except for a loincloth. With his right knee wedged in a stump, his torso contracts with an inner tension as he pounds his chest with stones in an act of penitence. At his feet sits a lion.
In this intensely lyrical painting from Bundelkhand in Central India, the great river is shown tumbling from the night sky. Ascetics sit cross-legged on the mountainside, offering their austerities to Shiva, while women come to venerate Ganga. The river teems with life—crocodiles, turtles, fish, and birds—while lions, leopards, jackals, monkeys, and rabbits cavort on its banks.
Oriya manuscript (unidentified), folio: A Courtier Visits an Ascetic. (Images and text on both sides; pair with 1985/2.144)
In this scene, a young prince, seen at right in his bejeweled splendor, offers reverence to an ascetic. The sage, nearly naked and with matted hair, sits on an animal skin. His right hand is in the gesture of exposition, suggesting that he is preaching to his courtly audience.
Object Creation Date
Medium and Support
charcoal dust and washes of color on incised palm leaf