Guy, John (ed.).L’Escultura en els Temples Indis: L’Art de la Devocio, Barcelona : Fundacio ‘La Caixa’, 2007. ISBN 9788476649466. p. 58, cat. 18. Shermann E. Lee: A Kushan Yakshi Bracket, Artibus Asiae , Vol. XII, 1949, p184 Kyoto: Great Oriental Art Exhibition: Catalogue, 1977, Colour Plate 5 Cfr. a yakshi in the Government Museum, Mathura, published in Oriental Art, Summer 1979, XXV, 2, p.250 Reproduced: V&A Small Picture Book No 7, Indian art Guy, John, Indian Temple Sculpture, V&A Publications, London, 2007. p.18, pl.9.ISBN 9781851775095
Guy, John. ‘Indian Temple Sculpture’, London : V&A Publications, 2007. p.18, pl.9. ISBN 9781851775095
Part of a rail pillar, red mottled sandstone, Mathura, northern India, 2nd century
Height: 51.4 cm
: L’escultura en els temples indis: l’art de la devocio (CaixaForum, Barcelona 27/07/2007-18/11/2007)
South-East Asia, room 47b
These tree spirits served as guardians in an architectural setting. They have their origins in the free-standing sculptures of female nature-cult figures (yakshi), of which many of the finest have been recovered in the region of Mathura. These figures, along with their male counterparts, provided the prototypes when anthropomorphic images were demanded to serve the devotional need of India's emerging new religions, Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. The religious affiliation of this particular bracket is not clear, but a Buddhist stupa is most probable. Similar figures have been excavated at Kushan-period sites in and around Mathura, such as the Kankali Tila stupa, Songk, and elsewhere.
Purchased from Imre Schwaiger in 1927
TREE SPIRITS (YAKSHI)
Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, North India
2nd century A.D.
Yakshi were animistic Nature-spirits belonging to early Indian cults which were absorbed into Buddhist and Jain worship as images of fertility. These two figures formed part of an architectural gateway (torana) which would have marked one of the approaches to a stupa (relic mound).
IM 72 & 73-1927 
Part of a curving gateway (torana) bracket decorated with a salabhanjika or yakshi holding a branch of a tree with long, lanceolate leaves. This is one half of the bracket which has a similar figure on the reverse ( IM.73-1927). It was formerly sliced in two for display purposes, but is now rejoined. The figure is damaged having been cut off at the knees and she has also lost both hands and a portion of her left breast. Her hair is smoothed over her head with a shallow, oval bun at the front. She wears courtly jewellery, including ear-lobe ornaments, two bead necklaces and arm bangles from her wrists almost to her elbows. She also wears a belt round her hips made of over-lapping fish-scale-like segments with an elaborate central clasp. This belt secures a diaphanous skirt (antariya) which has a narrow girdle in front below her waist, which leaves the rest of her lower body nude. There is a looped sash shown behind her on her right and folds of the skirt are visible between her legs.. This bracket belonged to a ceremonial gateway (torana) marking an entrance to a shrine, most probably a Buddhist or possibly a Jain stupa.
This double-sided pillar bracket relief was reportedly recovered from a Jain stupa (shrine) site at Mathura. Carved in mottled red sandstone, it represents Vrikshaka, a female nature-spirit guardian (‘yakshi’).
She stands with her right arm raised over her head to hold the branch of a flowering Ashoka tree and is decked with courtly jewellery. Her left hand rests on the richly bejewelled girdle which she wears on her hips. Around her neck she wears two bead-necklaces, each forearm is covered with bracelets and her ears have large jewelled earplugs. The figure is seemingly naked. However, a ridge across the stomach and the sash falling down her left side indicate a skirt of transparent diaphanous fabric, perhaps a fine muslin.
At some point in its post-excavation history this relief was sawn into two. This enabled both faces to be exhibited and it was assigned two museum numbers (IM.72-1927 and IM.73-1927). It was restored as a single object in the 1980s.