Bronze figures of Shiva and Parvati

From western Deccan, India, early 11th century

A temple image of the Divine Couple

Shiva is a powerful Hindu deity. He has a female consort, like most of the gods, one of whose names is Parvati, 'the daughter of the mountain'. Shiva and Parvati may appear as a loving couple sitting together in a form called Umamaheshvara. In this example two separate bronze images have been designed as a group. Both Shiva and Parvati wear elaborate jewellery. Shiva is the more powerful deity and so he is depicted with four arms and is the taller figure. In his hands he holds his weapon, the trident, a small deer and a fruit. His fourth hand is raised in reassurance (abhayamudra). Like other images of Shiva he wears two different earrings. Parvati holds a lotus in one hand and a round fruit in the other.

Bronze-casting in the eleventh century was highly developed in Tamil Nadu in the far south of India. However, these two bronzes are unusually large for the Deccan in the same period.

The erect frontal pose of these two figures contrasts with the relaxed, naturalistic posture of many images from Tamil Nadu of the Chola period.

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Dimensions

Height: 67.000 cm
Height: 67.000 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1974.12-9.1-2

RRI10636;RRI10637

Brooke Sewell Fund and Bequest

Location

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