The God Shiva

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Tamil Nadu, India, Asia

Chola Dynasty (c.800-c.1300)

c. 900-950


57 x 23 x 10 1/2 inches (144.8 x 58.4 x 26.7 cm) Weight: 630 lb. (285.77 kg)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Joseph E. Temple Fund, 1963

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Seated on a double lotus pedestal, this image of the god Shiva would have been one of many sculptures placed in narrow niches on the exterior walls of a temple. The figure can be recognized as Shiva by certain identifying characteristics: a vertical third eye in his forehead, the piled hair-crown (representing the matted locks of an ascetic who neglects the care of his body), and the trident held in his upper left hand. Behind the figure are symbols of royal-divinity carved in shallow relief - two fly whisks to either side and an umbrella projecting above his head. The smooth oval face, use of low relief, and simplicity of the figure typify the stone sculpture created under the early Chola rulers of southern India and their neighbors.