The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of September 28, 2016

Ganesha, c. 1070

bronze, Overall: 50.80 x 25.40 x 17.80 cm (20 x 10 x 7 inches); Base: w. 23.00 cm (9 inches). Gift of Katharine Holden Thayer 1970.62

Ganesha, the god of wealth and abundance, is an auspicious and revered Hindu deity. He removes obstacles (vighna) and protects his worshipers. Numerous myths explain how Ganesha became an elephant-man composite, but the most popular version relates the story of how he was decapitated by his enraged father, Shiva, and restored to life through the intervention of his mother, Parvati. Shiva agreed to revive him with the head of the first creature encountered: an elephant.
Ganesha's strength - his profound spiritual wisdom - contrasts with his weakness for sweets, as indicated by his pudginess and the sweet modaka he carries. In Ganesha, opposing forces exist in perfect harmony.
This sculpture epitomizes Chola bronzes, some of the most accomplished and desirable Indian works of art. Lee endeavored to ensure these bronzes were handsomely represented in the museum's collection.

CMA 1970: The Year in Review for 1970, Bulletin (February 1971), no. 156, repr. p. 47.
CMA 1982: The Age of Bronze, July 13-October 17, 1982, no cat.
CMA 1987: Images of the Mind, July 7-August 23, 1987, catalogue, not repr.
CMA 1996: Asian Autumn - Dance of the Gods: Indian Art Inspired by Music, no cat.
Sackler Gallery (11/102002 - 3/9/2003); Dallas Museum of Art (4/4/2003 - 6/15/2003); and CMA (7/4/2003 - 9/14/2003): "The Sensous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India", exh. cat. no. 22, p. 140-[142].
The Royal Academy of Arts, London (11/11/2006 - 2/25/2007): "Chola: Sacred Bronzes of Southern India", ex. cat. no. 7, p. 90-93.

The Cleveland Museum of Art (06/28/2009 - 08/30/2009); "Streams and Mountains Without End: Asian Art and the Legacy of Sherman E. Lee at the Cleveland Museum of Art"

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