Dancing Figure

DATE:
Probably 12th–13th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Marble
CLASSIFICATION:
Sculpture
DIMENSIONS:
Overall: 42 1/4 x 14 x 9 1/2 in. (107.31 x 35.56 x 24.13 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of Asia
LOCATION:
306 HINDU GALLERY
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation
COPYRIGHT:
This work is in the public domain. Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art.
OBJECT NUMBER:
1973.98

General Description

This figure probably dates close to 12th or 13th century, and is most likely from one of a group of temples atop Mount Abu in Rajasthan. The white marble used for the figure is a preferred medium for Jain sculpture. Jainism, like Buddhism, stresses detachment from the senses and renunciation. Despite the asceticism of Jainism, Jain temples often appear resplendent with the rich carving of the interior, reflecting the wealth lavished on temples by members of this faith, many of whom were and still are wealthy businesspersons and bankers. The dancing figure represents a vision of female sensuality, in which pleasure itself, as suggested by the dancer's enchanting body full of motion even before she begins to dance, can be part of the experience of enlightenment. The voluptuous figure leans forward to secure a set of bells on her left ankle. These bells would punctuate a dancer's movement with sound in response to the rhythm of her dance.

Adapted from

  • Frederick M. Asher, "Dancing figure," in The Arts of India, South East Asia, and the Himalayas, Anne R. Bromberg (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Have: Yale University Press), 65.
  • Anne R. Bromberg, The Arts of India, South East Asia, and the Himalayas (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press), 64.