Shiva Ardhanarishvara

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Acquired in 1931 (the spelunker thinks)

artist
Unknown
attributions_note
bibliography
Published: G.Kreisel, Die Siva Bildwerke der Mathura Kunst, Stuttgart, 1988, Pl. 114 a,b Purchased for 25 pounds. Campbell points out that the dealer 'might not have known the antiquity or the rareness of the statue or he would have asked more' Guy, John (ed.). ‘L’Escultura en els Temples Indis: L’Art de la Devocio’, Barcelona : Fundacio ‘La Caixa’, 2007. ISBN 9788476649466. p.98, cat.48. 'Among the earliest anthropomorphic sculptures of Siva to appear is that of Siva in his androgynous form, Ardhanarishvara, ‘the Lord who is Half-Woman’. In this manifestation, Siva reveals himself in a bi-sexual form, divided vertically, with Parvati occupying his left-half. This example, from the early Kushan period, is amongst the earliest known occurrence of this subject. In addition to these all to rare examples of Kushan period Ardhanarishvara figures, this subject also appears as one of the Siva’s faces on some of the earliest caturmukhalinga (‘four-faced linga’). These depictions, important from the beginnings of anthropomorphic representation of the Brahmanical gods, give form to concepts already expressed in the most ancient compendium of Indian religious thought, the Rgveda. Carved in high relief, the composite figure stands in a relaxed manner, with a vertical division separating the two entities. Siva’s form is on the right, distinguished by a taut muscular and ‘masuline’ form and the aroused penis which projects upwards from his waist-cloth. Siva’s third eye is vertically divided and only half represented; similarly the hair styles differ, set apart by this vertical divide. Parvati’s half is more rounded and ‘feminine’ in its form, and displays a single breast, long trestles of hair and a decorated girdle, clearly distinguished from Siva’s simple waist cord. Parvati’s hand appears to hold a flower; the missing arm of Siva presumably was gesturing protection (abhayamudra), as seen on other surviving examples of this subject. The figure stands against a phallic-like linga, Siva’s emblem. On the reverse the anatomical markings make the phallic-associations explicit. A demonic face is also carved in bas-relief, perhaps a depiction of Rudra the ‘howler’, the wild Vedic god from whom Siva (‘’the auspicious”) claims his ancestry'. Guy, John, Indian Temple Sculpture, V&A Publications, 2007, pp.141-142, pl.158
collection_code
SSEA
credit
date_end
0200-12-31
date_start
0150-01-01
date_text
Late 2nd century (made)
descriptive_line
Shiva Ardhanarishvara, sandstone, Mathura, north India, late 2nd century
dimensions
Height: 27 cm, Width: 10.5 cm, Depth: 6 cm
edition_number
event_text
exhibition_history
: L’escultura en els temples indis: l’art de la devocio (CaixaForum, Barcelona 27/07/2007-18/11/2007)
gallery
South-East Asia, room 47b
historical_context_note
historical_significance
history_note
Purchased from Imre Schwaiger in 1931 RP 1931/5401 The Shiva Ardhanarishvara image can be read as a syncretism of Shiva and Shakti (female personification of a male god's energy) cults. It is a statement of inclusiveness, of the completeness of Shiva's creation and as a symbol of his omnip[otence is the closest conceptually of any of the Shiva icons to the linga form itself.
id
24932
label
last_checked
2014-08-29T21:02:49.000Z
last_processed
2014-08-29T21:02:49.000Z
latitude
27.49586
location
South-East Asia, room 47b, case 4
longitude
77.67592
marks
materials
red sandstone
materials_techniques
Carved red sandstone
museum_number
IM.5-1931
museum_number_token
im51931
object_number
O24930
object_type
Sculpture
on_display
1
original_currency
original_price
physical_description
Shiva in his half male, half female form - the female side representing his consort Parvati. Carved in high relief, the composite figure stands in a relaxed manner, with a vertical division separating the two entities. Shiva’s form is on the left ( his proper right side), distinguished by a taut muscular and masculine form and the aroused penis which projects upwards from his waist-band. Shiva’s third eye is vertically divided and only half represented. He has a curling moustache and a long earlobe, and his matted locks are piled up in ribbed ridges on his head. The only jewellery he has is a beaded necklace round his neck. His torso is otherwise bare but his sacred thread is delineated by two simple lines. Parvati’s half is more rounded and feminine in its form, displaying a single rounded breast, adjacent to a decorative cord which morphs into Shiva's sacred thread on his side. Her hair is shown in the feminine Kushan style with a flat oval bun in front and the remainder of her hair pulled back in ribbed tresses. She is wearing a heavy tasselled earring and numerous wrist and arm bangles. Below her waist she wears a girdle with scalloped decoration over a diaphanous lower garment. Parvati’s hand appears to hold a flower; the missing arm of Shiva presumably was gesturing protection (abhayamudra), as seen on other surviving examples of this subject. The figure stands against a phallic-like linga, Shiva’s emblem. On the reverse the anatomical markings make the phallic-associations explicit. A demonic face is also carved in bas-relief, perhaps a depiction of Rudra the ‘howler’, the wild Vedic god from whom Shiva (‘’the auspicious”) claims his ancestry'.
place
Mathura
primary_image_id
production_note
Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India
production_type
public_access_description
This red sandstone carving shows a knee-length composite figure in high relief. It is a phallic symbol of Shiva in the Ardhanarishvara Murti. This is the name of the androgynous form in which Shiva is depicted as 'the Lord who is Half-woman'. Here the sculpture is divided vertically. The right half is male and has the third eye and an erect penis. The left half is female with a prominent breast, waist-girdle and hair plaits. The male arm is missing. The figure stands against a phallus, carved in low relief on the back with a demon face. Among the earliest anthropomorphic sculptures of Siva to appear is that of Siva in his androgynous form, Ardhanarishvara, ‘the Lord who is Half-Woman’. In this manifestation, Siva reveals himself in a bi-sexual form, divided vertically, with Parvati occupying his left-half. This example, from the early Kushan period, is amongst the earliest known occurrence of this subject. In addition to these all to rare examples of Kushan period Ardhanarishvara figures, this subject also appears as one of the Siva’s faces on some of the earliest caturmukhalinga (‘four-faced linga’). These depictions, important from the beginnings of anthropomorphic representation of the Brahmanical gods, give form to concepts already expressed in the most ancient compendium of Indian religious thought, the Rgveda. Carved in high relief, the composite figure stands in a relaxed manner, with a vertical division separating the two entities. Siva’s form is on the right, distinguished by a taut muscular and ‘masuline’ form and the aroused penis which projects upwards from his waist-cloth. Siva’s third eye is vertically divided and only half represented; similarly the hair styles differ, set apart by this vertical divide. Parvati’s half is more rounded and ‘feminine’ in its form, and displays a single breast, long tresses of hair and a decorated girdle, clearly distinguished from Siva’s simple waist cord. Parvati’s hand appears to hold a flower; the missing arm of Siva presumably was gesturing protection (abhayamudra), as seen on other surviving examples of this subject. The figure stands against a phallic-like linga, Siva’s emblem. On the reverse the anatomical markings make the phallic-associations explicit. A demonic face is also carved in bas-relief, perhaps a depiction of Rudra the ‘howler’, the wild Vedic god from whom Siva (‘’the auspicious”) claims his ancestry.
related_museum_numbers
rights
3
shape
site_code
VA
slug
shiva-ardhanarishvara-sculpture-unknown
sys_updated
2014-08-07T00:00:00.000Z
techniques
carving
title
Shiva Ardhanarishvara
updated
vanda_exhibition_history
year_end
200
year_start
150