now-ever:

One of the earliest and most sensational stone sculptures in India is a life-size image of a woman, carved from sandstone and polished to a glossy tan finish. (Popularly known as the Chowri-bearer or Yakshi) Who is this strong, erect woman who holds herself proudly and gazes directly at the viewer? Her sensuous monumentality is breathtaking. She provides a total contrast, for instance to the roughly contemporaneous and celebrated images of Greek Aphrodite, whose slight stoop and inwardly curved body suggests vulnerability, who avoids eye contact with the viewer, and who uses her hands to cover her genitals and breasts. Like the Greek deity, this figure is the product of a strongly patriarchal* society; yet she seems neither humble nor humiliated by her sexuality, which she proudly exhibits*. Found along the banks of the Ganges in the Bihar village of Didargarnj, the capital city of the ancient Mauryan monarchs, the sculpture is assigned roughly to third century BCE.
The Body Adorned Vidya Dehejia*I realise that the author of the book is renowned and respected, and that is why I am even quoting her, but certain scholarly terms must always be read with a pinch of salt, for they ring true in those circles, or their biases are welcome, but when tested against the deeper, multi-layered context of the eternal Indian mind and soul, they create a false perception. One such word is ‘patriarchal’. It would need multiple posts to explain the term exactly from the ancient point of view, but it must not be read as ‘purely a society of male dominance and oppression against women’. Similarly, knowing the ancient artist, it would not be his intent to deliberately ‘exhibit’ her sexuality; it is intrinsic to the sculpture’s spirit - but he would not deliberately hide it either. Titillation or repression - both extremes are alien to Indian art.
(image - wikipedia)

now-ever:

One of the earliest and most sensational stone sculptures in India is a life-size image of a woman, carved from sandstone and polished to a glossy tan finish. (Popularly known as the Chowri-bearer or Yakshi) Who is this strong, erect woman who holds herself proudly and gazes directly at the viewer? Her sensuous monumentality is breathtaking. She provides a total contrast, for instance to the roughly contemporaneous and celebrated images of Greek Aphrodite, whose slight stoop and inwardly curved body suggests vulnerability, who avoids eye contact with the viewer, and who uses her hands to cover her genitals and breasts. Like the Greek deity, this figure is the product of a strongly patriarchal* society; yet she seems neither humble nor humiliated by her sexuality, which she proudly exhibits*. Found along the banks of the Ganges in the Bihar village of Didargarnj, the capital city of the ancient Mauryan monarchs, the sculpture is assigned roughly to third century BCE.

The Body Adorned
Vidya Dehejia

*I realise that the author of the book is renowned and respected, and that is why I am even quoting her, but certain scholarly terms must always be read with a pinch of salt, for they ring true in those circles, or their biases are welcome, but when tested against the deeper, multi-layered context of the eternal Indian mind and soul, they create a false perception. One such word is ‘patriarchal’. It would need multiple posts to explain the term exactly from the ancient point of view, but it must not be read as ‘purely a society of male dominance and oppression against women’. Similarly, knowing the ancient artist, it would not be his intent to deliberately ‘exhibit’ her sexuality; it is intrinsic to the sculpture’s spirit - but he would not deliberately hide it either. Titillation or repression - both extremes are alien to Indian art.

(image - wikipedia)