The Museum’s Yogini has returned from her year away where she was the star of the Smithsonian’s exhibition Yoga: The Art of Transformation. The exhibition originated at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. in October 2013 and traveled to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Tracing the history of yoga over 2,000 years, Yoga drew acclaim in The Wall Street Journal; Pubic Radio, PRI; The New York Times; and The New York Review of Books, in which Yogini was frequently called out as a highlight.
“The haunting eleventh century ‘San Antonio Yogini’ sitting atop an owl in this same room was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable works in the exhibition, and among the finest examples of medieval Indian sculpture in the West,” wrote Siddhartha V. Shah in Orientations, September 2014.
Yogini, a female spiritual adept, is a beautifully carved sculpture and the most important work of Indian art in the Museum’s collection. She has four arms. Her outer arms hold a sword and shield, which display her martial nature. Her inner hands are held in the unusual gesture of whistling. The figure is remarkable for the crisp and energetic carving that includes many fine details such as the wrinkled lip. Such yogini figures were usually placed on the exterior boundary of temple complexes and may have served a protective function. These distinctive yogini images originated in Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh in present-day central and eastern India.
The Museum will celebrate Yogini’s return at Art Party November 14, with KRTU Jazz and Esquire Tavern cocktails. Gallery talks about Yogini at 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. Music and cocktails from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Art Party is free with Museum admission and free to members.
The San Antonio Museum of Art is housed in the historic Lone Star Brewery on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio Riverwalk. The collection contains more than 25,000 works representing 5,000 years of history and cultures from around the world.
Yogini, Northern Indian, Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh, 10th–11th century
Buff sandstone, h. 34 in. (86.4 cm); w. 17 1/4 in. (43.8 cm); d. 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm)
Purchased with the John and Karen McFarlin Fund and the Asian Art Challenge Fund, 90.92