An Enigmatic Female Ascetic Figure from Mathura
Many of Mathura’s goddesses defy clear-cut explanations and neat categorisation, often leaving modern viewers in a conundrum. A late-Kuṣāṇa / early Gupta period torso of a female deity currently on display at the Government Museum, Mathura and labelled by the museum as a yakṣī presents just such an iconographic puzzle. This paper examines the unusual iconography of this figure, particularly her bowl, against the background of ascetic practices in early Mathura.
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