While the holy cow is a favourite subject with devout artists and sculptors to this day, this one stands apart from the majority of such works. This is because it is the dynamic depiction of an inimitably divine moment between mother and child. From the angle of the mother’s substantial neck to the stance of her young one, this sculpture is a picture of life in motion and the maternal fervour that sustains it.
The composition is inlaid with high-quality stones in richly hued pastels and poised on an inlaid pedestal. The credit for such tasteful, high-precision handiwork goes to the local artisans of Patan, Nepal. A rudimentary but discernible image of Devi Lakshmi lies on the cow’s back. She presides over resources and plenty, in the stock and growth of which the cow plays a crucial role. This explains the reverence accorded to the cow-mother in India’s predominantly agricultural economy.