Sunday, 4 December 2011

Didarganj Yakshi (circa 3rd Century BCE)

In October 1917, a young man named Maulavi Qazi Sayyid Muhammad Azimul spied a large square block of stone along the edge of the Ganges river at the hamlet of Didarganj Kadam Basul in the eastern part of Patna, capital of the colonial province of Bihar and Orissa. Erosion along the river bank had brought this long buried piece of sandstone to the surface. Maulavi hoped to appropriate his find for household use as a grinding stone. But as he began to scrape away the dirt he discovered that the block was in fact the pedestal for a large polished stone statue. When unearthed and set upright the impressive image stood on its pedestal 6'9" tall.

Maulavi's river find would go onto an illustrious career as one of the most celebrated and well travelled of all Indian works of sculpture.

The Didarganj Yakshi, is at the Patna Museum, Bihar.

(Taken from the introduction of "Lives of Indian Images" by Richard H. Davis, 1997, Princeton University Press. Also available at Motilal Banaridass. Image from Google images) 

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