The British Museum's collections, £16.99
Stone relief of Umamaheshvara
12th-13th century AD
Shiva and Parvati in their mountain home
The Hindu god
This form of Shiva is particularly favoured in Nepali art from the tenth or eleventh century onward, reflecting the growing strength of Shiva's cult in this period. It is known as Umamaheshvara, from Maheshvara ('Great Lord') with Uma, another name for Parvati, his consort.
Both Hindu and Buddhist culture exist alongside each other in Nepal. Buddhism and Hinduism were both present in the Kathmandu Valley from the fourth century AD. Buddhism died out in India in around 1200, but survived alongside Hinduism in Nepal. To the north, Tibet has been primarily Buddhist since the ninth or tenth centuries. The subject-matter of this sculpture reflects Nepali connections with Hindu India, but the high-relief style of this image is typical of Nepali interpretations of the Hindu myth.
M. Hutt, Nepal: a guide to the art and (Kiscadale Ltd., Stirling, 1994)