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Archaeology

Yaksha: Patravahaka

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Yaksha: Patravahaka
2nd Century BC, Satavahana Period

Place of Origin: Recovered from Cave No. 3, Pitalkhora, Maharashtra
Materials: Stone
Dimensions: Ht:106 L:59 W:34 cm.
Acc. No. 67.195

This partially damaged statue in buff stone, harder than the sandstone but softer to than granite, recovered from Pital-khora, an early Satavahana site, the image itself being datable to 2nd century BC, represents the likeness of a Yaksha, a subordinate class of celestial beings rendering routine jobs for gods. A corpulent male the Yaksha, modeled as standing and carrying on his head a shallow basket or bowl, is classed in the iconographic tradition of celestial beings as the 'Patravahaka-yaksha'. Except the missing left forearm and lower legs, the knees and below, the figure of the Yaksha, despite that it is so early, is quite intact. Dwarfish in stature, it has been conceived with bold, robust and distinctive features.

As reveals the expression on his face and eyes, he is full of wild joy. This zest for life also reflects in his lavish adornment rendered with several unusual types of ornaments. His lotus flower-like dressed hair with twisted hair rolls is exceptionally attractive. He is putting on a beautifully designed 'antariya' - lower garment, conceived with vertical linear courses and other styles of folds, descending down to the mid-thigh height. It has been held on the waist with a decorative thick one-stranded cord with two ends lying loose around the left thigh. Friendly, benign and eager to share his mirth with all, his devotees and others, the figure of the Yaksha has been conceived with large bulbous eyes, chubby face, wide open mouth with rows of teeth well revealed as when laughing and in jubilation, expressing delight. The image has two notable features, one curious, and other, historically significant. On the right and left sides of his belly the Yaksha has a pair of human icons and on the outer side of the right palm the image has a 2nd century BC Brahmi inscription that reads as Kanhadasena Hirama-karena kate, revealing the name of the sculptor as Kanhadasa, a goldsmith.

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