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Important relief with Revanta

Northeast India, Bihar

Pala period, 11th  century

Hard black basalt

L61 x H43 cm

Art Loss Register Certificate: S 00021601

Private collection, Canada

Collection Marcel Nies, Antwerp, 2009-2014

Published: The future Buddha, the cultural heritage of Asia, Marcel Nies Oriental Art, Antwerpen, 2009, pp.30-31

This relief depicts Revanta hunting, seated on a horseback, preceded and followed by Danda and Pingala, walking in the same direction. In the background are two of Revanta's attendants, one bearing a parasol, the other approaching the god with a wine jar in his hand. He wears a dhoti and a girdle and has high boots similar to those of his father Surya. One figure carries a bow and arrow, a number of animals are being trampled beneath the horses' hooves. In the lower register of the relief is a hunting scene, accompanied by dance and music.  From left to right are a running deer, an attendant carrying a dead boar on his shoulders, a musician, a dancer, three drummers and a man playing cymbals.

Revanta is the youngest son of the Hindu sun god Surya and his wife Sanjna, a divine hunter and king of the Guhyakas. Revanta was a very popular figure in Bihar during the Pala period, several stone representations have been found. By the 10th century in Eastern India and Gujarat Revanta became the patron deity of horse traders, warriors and horses, and is thought to protect everyone against the dangers of the forest, which may explain his increasing popularity.

This relief was probably placed in a niche on the external wall of a temple dedicated to the sun god Surya. The elaborate rendering of the ornaments Revanta and his follower wear is typical for Pala sculpture of the 11th century. The relief, created with a sense of expressive dynamism and intented to be viewed frontally, is less ornate than later examples.


The Pala dynasty was a Buddhist dynasty that ruled in the eastern part of India from the 8th till the 12th century. They founded a large number of important sanctuaries, such as Bodhgaya, Nalanda and Kurkihar, they also promoted the university of Nalanda, which was one of the most prominent centers of learning in ancient India. They were known for their administrative and military reforms, as well as their support for the arts, literature and architecture. 





Revanta and Companions

Return form the hunt

Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh, 11th century

Gift of Michael Phillips and Juliana Maio

Published in Pratapaditya Pal, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Vol I, Art from the Indian Subcontinent, p.127

IMG 5385

Hunting Party with Revanta, India, Bihar, 10th century, chlorite, 33.7cm

Published in : Pratapaditya Pal, Asian art at the Norton Simon Museum, Vol I, Art from the Indian subcontinent, p.180

IMG 5390

The God Revanta and companions

Published in: Pratapaditya Pal, Indian Sculpture Vol I

Scannable document op 24 apr. 2023 09 12 15

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