Celebrating Ganesha

A British Museum Spotlight Loan

Generously supported by the Dorset Foundation

Tour schedule

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth 
16 June – 20 September 2015

Museum of Oxford 
26 September 2015 – 12 January 2016

Cartwright Hall, Bradford 
16 January – 15 May 2016

Bowes Museum, County Durham 
21 May – 18 September 2016

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 
24 September 2016 – 2 January 2017

Horniman, London 
11 February 2017 – 23 April 2017

Brent Museum, London 
3 May 2017 – 27 August 2017

Manchester Museum 
2 September 2017 – 8 January 2018

Recommend this exhibition

India is a land of gods and the Hinduism that originated in India is its most prominent religion. Among the many deities worshipped by the Hindus, Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, holds pride of place in the hearts of people.

The celebration of Ganesha takes place in the month of Bhadrapada (August – September) when thousands of clay statues and huge images of Ganesha are worshipped in households. The festival culminates with the immersion of Ganesha images and statues in lakes, rivers and the sea. The statues are accompanied by worshippers in a huge chanting procession.

The object is a 13th century schist sculpture of Ganesha. At 119cm tall, this Ganesha depicts many of the major attributes of the popular Hindu god; this Ganesha is a corpulent figure and is shown holding a bowl of his favourite sweets whilst at the base of his lotus pedestal crouches his rat 'vahana' or vehicle. His anklets are of snakes, as is the sacred thread wound across his chest. The arch within which he stands is of a typical Indian decorative type with a lion mask ('kirttimukha') at the top, and aquatic monsters ('makaras') at each end.

The Ganesha sculpture will be displayed alongside complimentary Gouache paintings and woodcut prints that depict Ganesh in traditional scenes.

Celebrating Ganesha will tour to six venues across the UK and each of Museum will highlight connections with their own collections.

Figure of Gaṇeśa made of stone (schist).