Nepalese black stone stele of Surya holding flowers and figure beneath on winged horses. The Brihat Samhita, a Hindu text that describes architecture, iconography and design guidelines, states that Surya should be shown with two hands and wearing a crown. In contrast, the Vishnudharmottara, another Hindu text on architecture, states Surya iconography should show him with four hands, with flowers in two hands, a staff in third, and in fourth he should be shown to be holding writing equipment (Kundi palm leaf and pen symbolizing knowledge). His chariot driver in both books is stated to be Aruṇa who is seated. Two females typically flank him, who represent the dawn goddesses named Usha and Pratyusha. The goddesses are shown to be shooting arrows, a symbolism for their initiative to challenge darkness.
Provenance: Ex Spink, London 1985
circa 16th century
H 9 1/2" x W 7" x D 2 1/4"