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Early Images Of Sarasvatī

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on surviving pre-eighth century Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Sarasvatī images. In view of the fact that a number of the representations of this time period have been erroneously labelled as Sarasvatī, identification is crucial. The chapter discusses these inaccurately identified images, as well as the ones mistakenly dated as pre-eighth century. An image which has been called an early prototype of Sarasvatī, and even Sarasvatī herself, appears in the second-century B.C.E. Buddhist site of Bhārhut in eastern Madhya Pradesh. Another image that is claimed to be a second century B.C.E. example of Sarasvatī is from the Buddhist site of Ghaṇṭaśāla in Andhra Pradesh. A sculpture of a goddess seated on a lion and playing a lute appears amidst the Gandhāra art of the Lahore Museum. The Allahabad pillar inscription glorifies Samudragupta's skill in music.

Keywords: Bhārhut; Gandhāra art; Ghaṇṭaśāla; Sarasvatī images



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