Balustrade of a Yali - R.2020-708


Balustrade of a Yali

Maker: Unknown maker
Medium:Dolomite, pigment
Geography: Sri Lanka, Kandy region
Date: 16th century AD
72.5 x 145 x 12 cm
Object number: 2006.86.1
Credit Line: This acquisition is made possible by the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Strategic Acquisitions Fund
On view
Gallery Location:Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery
DescriptionThis sculpture is one of a pair of Yali (male and female) with 2006.86.2 that once flanked a staircase to a temple or palace. It depicts a mythical animal called a Yali, a mythical composite animal that is part lion and part dragon. Yalis are considered auspicious and link the earthly realm with that of the gods. In this capacity, they often grace entrances of sacred or important sites, serving as a symbolic transition from the outside world to an inner sacred space. Wearing a necklace of bells, strings of pearls, and ornaments, this one projects from its open mouth a scalloped banister that ends in a spiral. A lotus is wedged between the banister and spiral, symbolizing spiritual elevation. The outline of the staircase that this piece once flanked is visible on the reverse of the stone.
South Asia
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