The veena in her hand symbolizes her role as the goddess of music. Accompanying her is the peacock. The peacock is a beautiful bird with a bright plumage, and his dance is proverbial and well known; when the feathers composing his tail shoot up fan-like in a beautiful semi-circular arrangement of great beauty indicative of joy. The peacock is perceived as a proficient dancer unsurpassed not only in dance steps, but also in the grandeur of its color glory like a danseuse, well dressed and fully equipped with ornamentation and apparel. Its presence in this painting along with the veena shows that she is unquestionably the patron deity of both music and dance.
This description by Nitin Kumar, Executive Editor, Exotic India.
Pal Pratapaditya (Ed). Dancing to the Flute, Music and Dance in Indian Art: Australia, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1997.
Sivaramamurti C. Birds and Animals in Indian Sculpture: New Delhi, National Museum, 1974.