Illustrated introduction to Hinduism, £9.99
Height: 23.000 inches
Asia OA 1872.7-1.66
Room 33: Asia
Stone figure of the war-god Skanda
From eastern India, 8th-9th century AD
The war-god riding a peacock
Skanda is always depicted as a young man. Here he holds a spear with a tiger-claw necklace around his neck. His hair is divided into three strands, characteristic of boyhood. Skanda's vehicle or vahana is the peacock. The peacock's fanned tail-feathers cover the rear of this stone stele.
Skanda was a popular deity in northern India until the eighth or ninth century when this image was made. Although his cult declined in the north after this date, it has retained its popularity in the south, where Skanda is identified with the earlier Tamil deity Murukan.
T. R. Blurton, Hindu art (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)