- Museum number
Seated stone figure of Gaṇeśa in lalitāsana posture, with the goddess Lakṣmī on his lap (Lakṣmī Gaṇapati).
The god is depicted with five heads (pañcamukha) and ten hands, holding, on the right side, a discus (cakra), trident (triśūla), bow (dhanur), club (gaḍā) and fruit (jambhīra); on the left side are, a lotus (padrna), noose (pāśa) whisk (cāmara) and tusk (danta). He wears a sacred thread consisting of a snake (sarpayajñopavīta). In his trunk Gaṇeśa holds an upturned water-pot, while on his knee, the goddess Lakṣmī grasps a lotus stalk bearing a large bloom. Beneath the throne is an opulent floral spray flanked by small figures of devotees, and an elephant and a rat, the respective vehicles (vāhana) of Lakṣmī and Gaṇeśa.
- Production date
Height: 101.60 centimetres
Thickness: 34.30 centimetres
Width: 54.60 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Fragment with lotus flower removed from top left corner in course of conservation; part of 19thC restoration and not original to the piece.
Gaṇeśa is best known for his fidelity and celibacy. These qualities allow him to enjoy the proximity of Pārvatī and other goddesses whom he often flanks as an attendant and guardian. In esoteric Śaiva belief, proximity to the goddess is a source of spiritual power and as Gaṇeśa is always near the goddess, he emerges as the most powerful of deities. In this extraordinary sculpture, Gaṇeśa is not only shown with the goddess on his lap like Śiva, but has appropriated some of the key emblems of the great gods: the trident of Śiva and the discus and club of Viṣṇu. The image is uniquely five-headed, a form commonly associated with Śiva and indicative of omniscience.
- On display (G33/od)
- Exhibition history
1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased by John Bridge at the Stuart sale at Christie's in June, 1830. The collection was given to the British Museum in 1872 by Mrs John Bridge and his nieces, Miss Fanny Bridge and Mrs Edgar Baker, on the death that year of George Bridge, brother of John Bridge.
- Registration number