Celestial Woman
Unfinished ceiling bracket

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Ramgarh, Kota, Rajasthan, India, Asia

c. Late 11th century


22 x 13 x 6 3/4 inches (55.9 x 33 x 17.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Prominent on the buttresses or projections of the walls of Hindu temples are images of surasundaris, "beautiful women of the gods." Self-absorbed messengers of divine presence, they are temptresses who attract religious devotees to worship. The female figures, carved almost fully in the round, reveal conceptually as well as visually the power dwelling in the house and body of the god whose image or symbol the temple enshrines. Offering themselves in alluring poses, they represent the eternally feminine, the power that emanates from within the temple in each of the projections of its walls. This surasundari standing in a sinuous, triply bent pose shows her left hand in the "bee" gesture, an elongated finger touching her breast. The other hand, resting on her hip, holds a bowl. The provocatively calm oval of her face, bun of hair resting on her shoulder, domes of her breasts, arc of her hips, and circular earrings resemble an arrangement of sweet ripe fruits within her cradling arms. Stella Kramrisch, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 52.