Dewi Winata

This stylized figurine was created by the Balinese woodcarver I Made Runda from Sakah, a village near Denpasar. Runda worked between circa 1950 and 1975. His elongated statues of beautiful women were loved by the many tourists who visited Bali in those years. As a result, his work has spread all over the world. Runda’s sculptures regularly appear at auctions.

Runda often incorporates mythological motifs in his apparently modern sculptures. For example, the carving above might look like a beautiful half-naked Balinese lady; in reality it’s an statue of the goddess Dewi Winata hiding the egg of Garuda under her sarong (see the picture in the middle).

According to the Hindu legend Winata got two bird eggs from her husband the high priest Kasyapa because she was unable to have children. Longing for a child, she broke the first egg before it was hatched, causing her first son Aruna to be born premature and deformed. He cursed his mother who carefully kept the egg of his brother Garuda, a mythical bird that lifted the curse of Aruna and later would become the mount of the god Vishnu.

Runda sums up this story in Winata’s loving gaze at the egg at her feet. The goddess is not dressed with her usual attributes, such as an ornate headdress. By omitting these recognizable details, Runda emphasizes the human theme behind the mythological story: a woman’s desire for children.

Read more about I Made Runda in my post on Lakshmi.

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