Stefan Baums baums at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Tue Jan 20 23:09:10 UTC 2009

Dear Alexandra,

> I wonder, does the sculpture refer to a 'daily life scene' (most
> likely in my view), does it illustrate as it were a story, local
> belief etc.?

according to the author (I came across this book at random), the subject is an 
abhisArikA nAyikA (woman rushing to meet her lover). While that makes me think 
more of Mughal-period miniature painting, the term abhisArikA does occur in 
KAlidAsa, so I wouldn't rule out that it was an established category in Gupta 
art. The author takes the scorpion as a symbol of passion, but without any argument for this interpretation. The article by Desai and Rabe mentioned by Matthew Kapstein may be more promising, though apparently the Indian Museum sculpture is not from Khajuraho (but somewhere in UP), and earlier than the Khajuraho temple complex, so the anagram-rebus theory would not necessarily work here.

All best and good luck with this!


Stefan Baums
Asian Languages and Literature
University of Washington

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