Know 6 facts about Bihar’s age old sculpture ‘Didarganj Yakshini’

Bihar art culture consists of a variety of art forms, including painting, sculpture, pottery, and textile arts. They are diverse, rich in history and religion. Bihar’s art has various cultural and religious influences which include Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam. In spite of this complex mixture of religious traditions, generally, the prevailing artistic style is usually shared by all the major religious groups. Yakshini is a species of supernatural entity preached by several religious groups. Here, are six facts everyone should know about this age-old sculpture.

• A Yakshi is a female earth spirit, accepted as a symbol of fertility by Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain faiths. It is the female counterpart of the male Yaksha. Yaksha is attendees of Kubera, the Hindu god of wealth. Yakshis were important in early Buddhist monuments as a decorative element and are still found in many ancient Buddhist archaeological sites.

• According to Uddamareshvara Tantra, there are thirty-six Yakshini. It is believed that these beings are givers of whatever is desired. According to Jain mythology, there are twenty-four species of Yakshini. It is believed that it can cause a tree to bear fruit simply by touching it with her foot.

Didarganj Yakshi is considered to be one of the finest sculpture from the Maurya Dynasty which is now located in Patna Museum, Bihar. It is 5’4” tall and carved out of a single piece stone, made from Chunar sandstone. The chair is held in the right hand and the left hand is broken.

 

• The Didarganj Yakshi statue was discovered on the bank of river Ganges on October 18, 1917. It was then housed in a room at Patna high court and later shifted to Patna Museum on December 17, 1917. It is the star attraction of the museum.

• These sculptures are often witnessed in standing position. Their polished surface is a distinguished element. She is usually portrayed as a wide-hipped, voluptuous woman. She is an epitome of charm and beauty. They show sensitivity towards depicting the human physique. It is symbolized as “mother-goddesses” which date back to the Indus Valley civilization, the oldest known urban culture of India. Also, the Ashoka tree is closely associated with the Yakshini mythological beings.

 

• Sculptures of Yakshi are often spotted immense architectural motifs like temples and stupas. Large Yakshi statues are found in many places across the country including Patna in Bihar, Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. They are usually spotted on the gates of Hindu and Buddhists temples.

 

These sculptures are guardians of the treasures hidden in the earth. We should know about these old sculptures to preserve them. They are a reflection of our history.


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