Shiva and Parvati

Shiva sits with his consort on a double lotus pedestal. He has six arms, his right three are in varada mudra [a giving gesture], holds a rosary and an arrow. His left arms cup his consorts left breast and hold a lotus flower and a bow. He sits in royal ease, with one leg pendant. He wears bracelets, armlets, necklaces, earrings, and a sacred thread that stretches form his left shoulder down past his waist. On his head he wears an elaborate jatamukuta, a crown interlaced with his matted locks. Parvati sits upon his knee with one leg tucked under her and the other pendant. She is also adorned with jewelry, but wears a more modest diadem at the front of her head.
Artist Unknown, India, Bengal
12th century
To complement Shiva’s character as an ascetic, he is also a husband and lover. His consort is known by various names, in this case as Parvati, the daughter of the Himalaya. Both the Pala dynasty in the northeast and the Cola dynasty in the south developed sophisticated traditions of bronze sculpture featuring this ideal couple. In this small but exquisite bronze from the northeast, the artist depicts Shiva and Parvati in animated and intimate conversation.
Museum purchase for the James Marshall Plumer Memorial Collection
Saturday, August 13, 2022