Strut Sulima Ratneswar temple


  • Title : Strut Sulima Ratneswar temple
  • Year : 13th Century
  • Classification : Roof Strutt
  • Medium : Wood
  • Museum : Art Gallery New South Wales, Australia
  • Country / Geo-Location : Sulima Ratneswar temple, Patan
  • Accession No : 33.2000.a-b
  • Credit Line : Bequest of Alex Biancardi 2000

This large wooden temple strut is carved with a distinctively stylised and elongated figure of a tree deity or ‘shalabhanjika’, also popular in Hindu and Buddhist India. This celestial woman stands with one leg crossed over the other, in a relaxed ‘tribhanga’ or triple-bend pose. Her proper right hand extends above to grasp hold of a tree branch. Her left hand is in ‘vitarka mudra’, with the index finger and thumb touching. She stands on the head of a squatting dwarf or ‘gana’, depicted in a stylised rocky landscape setting.

The long, slim, sinuous body of this tree goddess is adorned with armlets and bracelets, necklaces and a tasselled hip-belt, worn as a symbol of fertility, and she is accompanied by a parrot, a symbol of love. Above her head is the lush, vigorous foliage of a flourishing tree. The ‘gana’ figure beneath is rendered in angular lines, contrasting with the swaying, curvaceous figure of the woman. With bearded face and strong body, he is shown squatting with one hand extended to the floor and the other resting on his knee.