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A section from a door frame, one of a pair
Place of Origin: India, Madhya Pradesh state
Date: approx. 800-850
Materials: Sandstone
Dimensions: H. 45 in x W. 15 1/2 in x Diam. 5 in, H. 114.3 cm x W. 39/4 cm x Diam. 12.7 cm
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Sculpture
Object Number: B70S2.2
On Display: Yes
Location: Gallery 3

Description

Label:

Befitting its original location, which was probably at the entrance to the main sanctum of a Hindu temple, this door frame section was carved with various auspicious images. At the lower inner corner of this section is a snake, identified by a hood rising behind its head. Snakes were associated, among other things, with life-giving waters. Each of the snakes turns inward with a gesture of devotion toward the deity within the temple. The lower portions of both door sections are now missing but would have depicted the goddesses Ganga (Ganges) and Yamuna, who represent India's holiest rivers.

Water-related imagery was believed to have a purifying effect on the worshipers who passed through temple doorways. It was also a visual representation of the links between deities and humans, and between the heavens and the earth. The river goddesses, for instance, descend to earth from the heavens, and from their fertile waters all of life emerges. As if to emphasize this symbolism, numerous loving couples-representative of fertility and divine union-rise along each doorjamb. The lintel that must once have been located above this door section would have been carved with images of deities and heavenly realms.


Label:

Befitting its original location, which was probably at the entrance to the main sanctum of a Hindu temple, this door frame section was carved with various auspicious images. At the lower inner corner of this section is a snake, identified by a hood rising behind its head. Snakes were associated, among other things, with life-giving waters. Each of the snakes turns inward with a gesture of devotion toward the deity within the temple. The lower portions of both door sections are now missing but would have depicted the goddesses Ganga (Ganges) and Yamuna, who represent India's holiest rivers.

Water-related imagery was believed to have a purifying effect on the worshipers who passed through temple doorways. It was also a visual representation of the links between deities and humans, and between the heavens and the earth. The river goddesses, for instance, descend to earth from the heavens, and from their fertile waters all of life emerges. As if to emphasize this symbolism, numerous loving couples-representative of fertility and divine union-rise along each doorjamb. The lintel that must once have been located above this door section would have been carved with images of deities and heavenly realms.