Ganga and Yamuna

Gupta period, 5th Century AD
Ahichchhatra, U.P.
Delhi National Museum, India.

Ganga and Yamuna personify the Ganges and Jumna rivers. Their upraised hands carry pots which contain the life-giving waters (similar iconography is also associated with river personifications in ancient Rome and Egypt). The goddesses are flanked by attendants holding parasols. Ganga, photo left, stands on a makara, while Yamuna, photo right, stands on a tortoise. (The makara's head, which would have faced to the viewer's right, is missing from the present statue.)

Statues of Ganga and Yamuna were typically carved in matched pairs, on either side of a temple entrance, in order to bless the temple precincts with the fertility and abundance of their waters.