Jun 7, 2006
Jun 8, 2006

A Guardian of Shiva

A Guardian of Shiva


Chloritic schist

Overall: 113.3 x 49.2 x 29 cm (44 5/8 x 19 3/8 x 11 7/16 in.)

Weight: approx. 600 lbs.

John L. Severance Fund 1964.369

Did you know?

A three-hooded cobra winds its way up the shaft, while another slithers through the sockets of the skull.


Guardians at Shiva temples sometimes appear as a form of the deity himself. Carved in the ornate style favored by kings of the Hoyshala dynasty (1026–1343), this four-armed figure holds a drum that indicates the ongoing passage of time in his upper right hand. In his upper left hand, he holds a staff surmounted by a decomposing head of the god of creation, Brahma. The soft contours of the face, complete with third eye of knowledge, temper his ferocity and create a gently alluring figure.

See also
Indian Art
Type of artwork: 

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