Standing Goddess or Figurine
1st century BC
Gallery 20, Indian Art
Ground Floor

 


Focus on the Object

Introduction
This terracotta plaque, commonly called the Oxford Plaque, is one of the finest examples of early Indian terracottas to survive. It was discovered in ancient Tamralipta, present day Tamluk in India, and it dates to around the first century BC. The iconography of the figurine has fascinated and intrigued scholars for over a century, and research continues in order that we might find out more about this exquisite figurine.

About the Object
The figurine has been made from terracotta using a clay mould. Extra details such as the rosettes in the background would have been added on by hand.
The costume and large turban she is wearing are very elaborate. Look closely and you can see five different shapes on the left side of her headdress. Scholars think that these perhaps represent weapons.

The fine incised lines on her torso and her legs indicate that she is wearing a garment of some sort, together with a sash that she has draped over her arms. This type of costume is quite unusual for figurines of the time as usually their upper bodies are left bare. She is also wearing a large quantity of very elaborate jewellery and she is covered with strings of pearls, beads and ribbons. If you look closely you can see that she has four human figures attached to her belt. These are thought to be yakshas or ancient nature spirits.