Sculptures of [Devi] Jagdambi temple at Khujraho
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the sculpture decoration on the wall of the Jagadambi Temple at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, taken by Deen Dayal in the 1880s, part of the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views. The small town of Khajuraho in the Chatarpur district is the site of dozens of Shiva, Vishnu and Jaina temples, which were built between the 9th and 12th centuries under the aegis of the Chandella dynasty which ruled in central India. Of about 85 temples said to have been erected at this site only about twenty-five have survived. The compact temples, none of which are very large, stand on high plinths (jagatis) lifting them from their environs, instead of the usual enclosure walls. The sensuous sculptures that decorate them, some of which are explicitly erotic, are among the masterpieces of Indian art. The sculptures have been read as relating to Tantric practices, or illustrations of ancient treatises on sex. Noted for its exquisite sculptures including several of erotic couples, the Jagadambi temple dates from the mid-11th century and has a sanctuary with a passageway preceded by a hall with a porch. The outer walls are completely covered with sculptures. Rearing beasts are positioned in the wall recesses.