An image of Surya, the sun god

Unknown Artist

Surya, the sun god

Location
Not on display
Further information

Surya, the universal sun god, is one of the five principal deities of the Hindu pantheon (together with Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha and Devi). He is identified with Saturn in the worship of the nine planets ('navagrahas'). Worship of Surya has been prevalent in India from very early times (c. third millennium BC). In the early Kushana period (c. first/second century AD) under Iranian influence, there emerged in North India the form of Surya as seen in this relief - the deity in a frontal position, carries full blown lotuses in his hands, and stands on a chariot to which are yoked seven horses. In this symmetrically stele, Surya is crowned by a kirtimukha and accompanied by his two consorts Ushas (Dawn) and Chaya (Shade). Two male attendants Danda (staff) and Pingala (scribe) are also depicted.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, March 1995

Place of origin
West Bengal, India
Period
India: Pala Period circa 760–1142
Year
early 11th century
Media
Sculpture
Medium
phyllite
Dimensions
56.0 cm x 24.0 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Credit
Gift of Mr S. Matsuno 1995
Accession number
41.1995