Antique/Vintage Carved Hindu Deity/Child’s Doll, South India (3120FLK)


H: 9.5″  W: 2″  D: 1.2″

This antique hardwood local female deity from a provincial area in South India is a Devi, a positive female spirit and fertility deity. Hand crafted as a child’s toy, it was intentionally crudely carved without much detail  and created to entertain and instill pride in the local community’s heritage and religion. It has a shiny patina from natural hand oil as it was handled daily for a century or so.  


In India, as other Asian countries, Hindu children were given votive objects and Indian-carvings as dolls representing murti (deities), legendary heroes, and myths to entertain, educate, and reinforce pride in their heritage and religion. This Indian-folk-art carving is a Devi, the Sanskrit word for goddess meaning heavenly, divine, and a thing of excellence. Carved Devis are positive spirits and fertility deities who over see rains for agriculture, guard the village’s agriculture well-being and are unique to each village with individual origin stories and varying personalities. This folk-art Devi was likely an Indian girl’s first personal votive object and may have also been used for daily puja (prayers) on the family’s home altar.  She is identified by the tikka mark on her forehead, ample breasts – a wish for fertility-, bent arms across her waist, and her upright stance asserting her position as a deity. It is in weathered but good condition and much of the reddish paint covering its surface is visible under its darkened surface.This piece is part of the VA Spiritual-and-Inspirational Collection of Hindu-Art and the Hindu-Cultural-and-Ritual Art Collection.

Additional information

Dimensions 12 × 9 × 6 in
Place of Origin



Antique/Vintage (1910-1980)



Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome, lacquer

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 9.5” W: 2” D: 1.5”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 24.13cm W: 5.08cm D: 3.81cm


8 oz


Very good, patina and wear consistent with age and use

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size