Its Prized Possession:
The Didarganj Yakshi or The Chauri (Fly Whisk) Bearer
Regarded as one of the finest example of Indian art, this piece has been exhibited at many museums, the world over. The last one was in Summer 1985 at the Festival of India -"Aditi" - held at the Smithsonian Institution and The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, Capital of USA, where also this author had the pleasure of viewing this celebrated piece of art with enormous pride.
This 5'4" tall statue is carved out of a single piece of stone. It has been dated with certainty to the Asokan period.
The prominent breasts, the narrow waist, the creases on the lower abdomen, and broad hips, are classic features of feminine beauty of all ages. They show the painstaking attention to details by the artisan(s).
Equally striking is the depiction of clothes with which her body is draped. Elegantly folded and pleated in the front, held in place by exquisite waist ornaments (kamar-bund.). Noteworthy also is the beauty of the ornaments that adorn this female figure from her head to toe. Interestingly, this style of ornaments remain unchanged to this day. The fly whisk (the chauri) seen in her right hand can still be found at wedding ceremonies all over Bihar. Such is the power of tradition in Bihar!
The slight bend in the left leg endows the statue with a subtle impression of graceful motion, which some observers have described as the "gait of a swan" or maralagimini.
Such were the talents
of the artists in ancient Bihar.
Can the much ballyhooed "Venus de Milo" hold a candle to this lady.
(Photographed with permission at the Patna Museum. Duplication not permitted. © bihareebabu)