Shiva as Lord of Music

c. 1000
Overall: 76.5 x 45 cm (30 1/8 x 17 11/16 in.); Base: 26 x 25 cm (10 1/4 x 9 13/16 in.)
Weight: 41.73 kg (92 lbs.)
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share


After he created the world, Shiva manifested himself in a variety of ways, each of which emphasized a different aspect of his all-encompassing, complex personality. As Lord of Music, he is serene and beneficent. He holds a stringed instrument called the vina, which is missing in this example, but the fingers of his lowered hands are in the position of playing it. His other two attributes in this form are the axe and the rearing antelope, which references knowledge of the Vedic texts, which are the foundational books of the Hindu religion. Music was considered to be an essential component of sacred learning, and its rhythms reflect the structures of the ongoing creation of the universe.
Shiva as Lord of Music

Shiva as Lord of Music

c. 1000

South India, Tamil Nadu, Chola period (900-13th century)

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.