Sita

Sita, 1880-1920
Sculptor unknown
Stone, painted marble
:135.26.82
© Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Sita, 1880-1920

Sita is the consort of the Hindu god Rama. Her abduction by the demon king, Ravana and subsequent rescue are the central incidents in the great Hindu epic poem, The Ramayana.

Sita is the embodiment of wifely and feminine virtues for all Hindu women. She is recognised for her dedication, self-sacrifice, bravery and purity. She is also seen as a personification of the Earth’s fruitfulness and plenty. She is also one of the 17 National Heroes of Nepal where a large temple, Janaki Mandir, marks her marriage to Rama.

Figures such as this are known as murti in the Hindu faith. They are not idols per se, but an embodiment of the god and are used as a method of focus when communicating with them.

The design and construction of murti is governed by set texts, Shilpa Shastras, which give precise instructions as to scale and materials. This marble version is likely to have come from northern India whilst in the south, they are generally made of black granite.

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