Yakshi (Female Nature Spirit) with Hands Together in the Honoring Posture
From the railing of a Buddhist stupa

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Uttar Pradesh, Mathura Region, India, Asia

2nd century


16 1/2 × 6 1/4 × 3 1/4 inches (41.9 × 15.9 × 8.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with funds contributed by Miss Anna Warren Ingersoll, Nelson Rockefeller, R. Sturgis Ingersoll, Mrs. Rodolphe Meyer de Schauensee, Dr. I. S. Ravdin, Mrs. Stella Elkins Tyler, Louis E. Stern, Mr. and Mrs. Lionel Levy, Mrs. Flagler Harris, and with funds from the bequest of Sophia Cadwalader, funds from the proceeds of the sale of deaccessioned works of art, the George W.B. Taylor Fund, the John T. Morris Fund, the John H. McFadden, Jr., Fund, the Popular Subscription Fund, and the Lisa Norris Elkins Fund from the Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1956

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Yakshis are female nature spirits who embody fertility and prosperity. They are often shown with trees, flowers, and snakes, suggesting a transfer of creative energy between nature and humanity. It is likely that they were worshiped as local goddesses. In early Indian art, images of yakshis frequently adorned railing posts or acted as brackets for railing gateways. This figure is shown with her hands folded in prayer.