Overall: 73.9 x 57.2 cm (29 1/8 x 22 1/2 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1971.15
Gateways leading into a sacred area often had large horizontal architraves, the weight of which was supported by brackets carved with figures of voluptuous women grasping the branch of a tree. They embody the ideal form of the young mother, with breasts full of nourishing milk. As personifications of the sap that pervades living plants, they are auspicious markers of life and abundance. These attractive figures, who embody the purifying water essential for life, symbolically cleanse visitors as they enter the sacred space. On both sides of this large bracket they grasp the branch of an ashoka tree, which has clusters of flowers that are bright red in nature.
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