Terracotta, Madhya Pradesh, Sunga dynasty, c. 2nd to 1st century BC
Height: 12.9 cm, Width: 5.9 cm, Depth: 2.6 cm
Ceramics Study Galleries, Asia & Europe, room 137
Plaque depicting an elaborately coiffeured female being shaved by a kneeling man who holds up her right leg and supports a bowl on his knee. Terracotta moulded in relief. From the Ganges Valley, c. 2nd century BC.
The majority of Indian terra-cotta figurines appear to have been made as votive offerings and often represent the ancient Mother Goddess or fertility godlings. Some were undoubtedly toys and others depict erotic subjects or scenes of urban life. Contemporary literature describes the sophisticated life-style of Indian courtesans of which this appears to be an illustration.