Shalabhanjika , Monalisa in Stone , Museum , Gwalior Fort

Shalabhanjika  is a price less  stone statue of a lady of World fame Ancient India art work recovered from Gyaraspur near Sanchi and Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh now kept in the museum of Gwalior Fort under high security , special permission is required from the Archaeological Survey of India to visit this particular  chamber.

There were two such sculpted statues installed at the entrance of Sanchi Stupa , during the raids of Mugal King Aurangzeb’s army  one of it was destroyed and this one was thrown in the forests of Gyaraspur, later to be recovered in 19th Century . In early 1980 a  Visitor French Tourist Group named it Monalisa in Stone

Shalabhanjika , Museum , Gwalior Fort

The beauty of this stone statue is the creation of very clear strange smile on a face by the sculpture , it is probably sculpted during 10 – 11 th  AD , the waist holds lower garment across her broad hips and her full bloomed body which  has a bare torso  with a  pearl necklace around her neck , a long necklace falling between her breasts and then one chain going down up to her naval . Eyes and bowed eyebrows , sharp nose , ear rings , her hair with bun decorated with jewelry and precious stones . The lady seems to be standing under a Saal tree holding a branch . She is also known as the Tree Goddess . The Sanskrit name Shalabhanjika means “A lady breaking Saal branch”

Shalabhanjika

Shalabhanjika are found mostly at the entrances of Stupa . The sandstone beams across the gateways were held up by bracket figures like this, representing female tree spirits called Yakshika . In an ancient  Indian fertility rite, beautiful young girls were said to usher in spring by kicking a tree trunk while breaking off a branch, so as to arouse it into blossoming. the Shalabhanjika Yakshika serves as a fertility symbol associated with the spirit of the tree and earth to ensure the auspiciousness of the site where the Stupa is built.

 

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