Overall: 53 cm (20 7/8 in.)
Bequest of Mrs. Severance A. Millikin 1989.369
This early iconic form of Shiva as the Great God, or mahadeva, embodies his contradictory aspects. Shiva is both a yogi who lives outside of society and a king who rules the world. His yogic qualities can be seen in the matted locks of hair and the cobra that girds his torso, yet he wears a king’s crown. The forward-looking face of Shiva embodies his sovereignty. He grants freedom from fear with the gesture of his upraised right hand; his lowered left hand holds a citrus fruit, used in temple worship. His feminine aspect embodies features associated with creation and nurturing. She emanates as his wife Parvati, here seen as his left face. His right head is Bhairava, whose fearsome face embodies Shiva’s powers of destruction. His two sons, the elephant-headed Ganesha and the warrior Skanda, stand at his feet. Shiva’s vehicle, the bull Nandi, turns his head with a determination in all three of his eyes, which mirror the three eyes of Shiva.
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