Posted on: 8 January 2016

Plaque with a Royal Family
Shunga period
1st century B.C.
India (West Bengal, Chandraketugarh)

This family scene and the touching intimacy that permeates it are unusual in Indian terracotta. With his left hand, the man, seated on a chair, holds the back of his wife's head: she stands before him and gently caresses his knees. A small figure, thought the couple's son, is shown seated, besides a dog he holds by its leash, in the foreground. Two ducks appear at the lower left while at the far right, fragments of a monkey, climbing the leg of the chair, can be seen.

© The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Sanjeev Khandekar


Very beautiful

I suspect its either fake or not a royal family. Pushyamitra Sunga was a brahmin army commander and he led a coup and formed the sunga dynasty which was a staunch supporter of vedic way of life. In vedic way of life, dogs are not kept and played inside houses of kings. They will be in a separate place outside. Moreover the dog breed shown in the image is not a native breed. Third anomoly is such a big dog would have killed a smaller size monkey.. dont know if this piece is authentic.

and that is the least of what one should notice! To me, her left upper leg looks bigger than her right one..... (shall i go on?)


Vijay Parthasarathy I respectfully disagree with you. Monkey are far more swift than a dog. And, ye, raised together they become friends. Just last week I posted phits of a monkey playing foster mother to an orphaned puppy. There are a range of canine breeds that are indigenous to the Indian Subcontinent. I hope you are not thiking of the street strays for comparison. Only count I agree with you is this is not a portrayal of the royalty. It is a commoner given the presence of a primate, a bird a canine ...