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THE YAK-TAIL’S FLYWHISK (CHAMARA)

THE YAK-TAIL’S FLYWHISK (CHAMARA) Ellen Raven On entering the Patna Museum, one is greeted by the stunning image of a majestic lady carved life-size from buff, highly polished sandstone. She is known as the Didarganj ‘yakshï or ‘chaurie-bearer’ (fig. I).1 Proudly she faces us, a faint smile on her lips. The near-symmetry of her body stance is emphasized by carefully carved ornaments, full breasts, clothing details and a many-stranded girdle. She holds a flywhisk with a short handle over her right shoulder; her left hand, now broken off, must once have rested on her left hip. Ever since its recovery, this sculpture has defied final attribution to a specific period of India’s early sculptural art - informed estimates vary from the Maurya period (3rd century BC) up to even as late as the post-Gupta period (circa 700 AD).2 The date of her manufacture, however, is not my present concern. It is the flywhisk that interests me. Attendants with flywhisks A flywhisk is a common enough attribute for attending figures, mentioned occasionally in tales and depicted in sculpture and painting. A special kind, the white flywhisk (chamara, with a long first a) is made from the bushy tail of a yak.3 In ancient days http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aziatische Kunst Brill

THE YAK-TAIL’S FLYWHISK (CHAMARA)

Aziatische Kunst , Volume 38 (4): 13 – Jul 5, 2008

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
eISSN
2543-1749
DOI
10.1163/25431749-90000167
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Ellen Raven On entering the Patna Museum, one is greeted by the stunning image of a majestic lady carved life-size from buff, highly polished sandstone. She is known as the Didarganj ‘yakshï or ‘chaurie-bearer’ (fig. I).1 Proudly she faces us, a faint smile on her lips. The near-symmetry of her body stance is emphasized by carefully carved ornaments, full breasts, clothing details and a many-stranded girdle. She holds a flywhisk with a short handle over her right shoulder; her left hand, now broken off, must once have rested on her left hip. Ever since its recovery, this sculpture has defied final attribution to a specific period of India’s early sculptural art - informed estimates vary from the Maurya period (3rd century BC) up to even as late as the post-Gupta period (circa 700 AD).2 The date of her manufacture, however, is not my present concern. It is the flywhisk that interests me. Attendants with flywhisks A flywhisk is a common enough attribute for attending figures, mentioned occasionally in tales and depicted in sculpture and painting. A special kind, the white flywhisk (chamara, with a long first a) is made from the bushy tail of a yak.3 In ancient days

Journal

Aziatische KunstBrill

Published: Jul 5, 2008

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