Virabhadra plaque

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Shiva as Virabhadra stand in a relaxed posture under an elaborate arch placed above a goose form on either side. The arch curves inward and forms a heart shape at the center meeting in a mask of glory, a kirtimukha. Against the pillars holding up the arch are figures of the goat-headed Daksha on his right and saintly figure on his right. Both are in posed of devotion with their hands in a prayer pose, namaskara. Virabhadra has four arms (reading clockwise from his front right hand) holding a sword, an axe, a trident and resting on a club. He wears a lower garment covered by a series of belts and a multi-tiered necklace coving much of his chest. He also wears a long garland decorated with small human heads at the bottom across his thighs. A five-headed snake hood is spread behind his crown and coils of the snake project above each of his shoulders.
Artist Unknown, India, South India
20th century
Virabhadra was an emissary created by Shiva to wreak punishment on his father-in-law, Daksha, who had refused to render him offerings when performing a great ceremony of sacrifice. Virabhadra carries Shiva’s standard attributes of the drum and trident in his back two hands. His sword and necklace of human heads indicate his wrathful nature. The sun and the moon are above his head, and he is crowned with a high topknot and a snake hood. He stands before a flaming aureole, surmounted by a kirtimukha or face of glory. With his left hand he gestures toward the goddess Parvati, while at his lower right stands the ram-headed Daksha, now submissive. Virabhadra was widely worshipped in the villages of south India, and inexpensive hammered metal plaques such as these were readily available from local smiths.
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel
Saturday, August 13, 2022