Standing female figure wearing skirt and headdress - closeup view

Dublin Core


Standing female figure wearing skirt and headdress - closeup view


Arts; Arts-Sculpture; Religions-Folk; Religions-Hinduism;


Wood-carved with added white paint.This handsome figure is another Manderman folk piece. She seems to most closely resemble what are often called bhuta figures from 19th-20th-century Karnataka. Bhuta is another term that is used in various ways; in the orthodox tradition it has meaning associated with ghosts, with evil forces, with potentially malevolent spirits. Bhuta has been used as a term to signify those malevolent spritis outside the orthodox traditions of Hinduism and thus has also come to signifiy, more generically, folk deities, powerful forces outside the pantheon of the Hindu tradition; but in this sense these are not necessarily malevolent or destructive; rather they are beings/ forces/ spirits of limited and often highly localized powers. What this figure shares with other Karnataka figures that have been termed bhutas are the material and general form: she is made of wood, rather simply carved, with a strongly stylized, geometric body. Her body is contructed of a series of geometric shapes, with tubular arms, a cylindrical trunk pinched at the waist, her face strongly circular with large ears that project at a direct perpendicular from the cheeks. The details of the face are simplified in a manner that is shared with the marble Jina. There are several details that set this figure apart from better-known so-called bhutas from Karnataka: she seems to wear a garment that covers her upper body, a feature quite unusual in the depiction of females in Indian art in general and in typical bhutas from Karnataka, in which the upper body is also usually nude except for jewelry; her skirt falls in wide gores with only a few folds, while in most bhuta figures from Karnataka the skirt is rendered in a continuous series of thin folds that create a more detailed pattern of vertical forms along the lower body; and rarely are typical Karnataka bhutas painted, as this figure is. Further research may suggest a different provenance, as wooden 'folk' figures hail from many regions.
Donated by Mrs. Erna Manderman


Fairfield University


Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only. Acknowledgement to be given to the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian Art in the Undergraduate Curriculum Project and to the college from whose collection the work comes. The individual college retains copyright to the work.


soclaa001007, soclaa001008




Still image




India - Colonial 1765 - 1947
19th - 20th century



“Standing female figure wearing skirt and headdress - closeup view,” ASIANetwork IDEAS Project, accessed December 4, 2023,