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Creator Nationality: Asian; Indian Sub-Continent; Nepalese
Creator Name-CRT: Nepalese
Title: Shiva and Parvati (Uma-Maheshvara)
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 900
Creation End Date: 999
Creation Date: Thakuri period, 10th century
Creation Place: Nepal
Object Type: Sculpture
Classification Term: Reliefs
Materials and Techniques: Stone with traces of gold leaf
Dimensions: H. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1992.002
Credit Line: Asia Society: Estate of Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller
Context: Buddhism and Hinduism were both practiced in Nepal, and the same artists made sculptures for both religions. This striking 10th-century stone sculpture provides a comparatively more complicated image of Shiva and his family relaxing in their heavenly home on Mount Kailasa. The rocky ledges depicted above and below the primary images symbolize the mountain abode. Parvati leans lovingly against Shiva's left leg in the center of the composition; her smaller size is typical of Uma-Maheshvara iconography. Thefour-armed Shiva holds a trident with one of his left hands and with a right hand lifts a lock of his hair, which is being offered to the goddess Ganga flying above his right shoulder. This is a reference to the tale in which Shiva allows the mighty river Ganga to flow from the heavens onto the earth through his hair to soften the cascade's destructive potential.
The divine couple is attended by several family members. The young boy seated on Shiva's bull is their son Karttikeya. Ganesha, their elephant-headed son, is depicted at the bottom of the relief dancing with the ganas, a host of benevolent dwarfs associated with Shiva and his family. A cow-headed gana is also shown offering food to Karttikeya. The two figures at the relief's top corners represent Shiva's attendants, known as pratiharas, who are depicted in his likeness and as personifications of his powers. Parvati is attended by a four-armed goddess named Vijaya and by another figure who supports her right foot.
Striking family tableaux such as this one were very popular in Nepal, and the earliest stone examples date from the 6th century. The iconography of this and related sculptures has been identified as a scene of the birth of Karttikeya, when in delight Shiva andParvati commanded their heavenly hosts to sing and dance in celebration of their new son.
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, , p. 111.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1992.002
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, Asia Society
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