Mask-like Processional Plaque (Mohra) of the God Shiva

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Himachal Pradesh, Chamba, India, Asia

c. 9th century

Copper alloy

11 3/8 × 9 1/2 × 3 1/4 inches (28.9 × 24.1 × 8.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1980

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Groups of gleaming images such as this were--and still are--taken out of Hindu temples in India and carried in processions during religious festivals. Cast as a kind of brass plaque, this image represents Shiva, the Great God. His young, round, firm face is charged with energy; with full lips, strong, sensitive nose, and wide-open, commanding, demanding eyes (perhaps once inlaid with silver), he gazes from a depth of inner awareness far beyond the world that the nose scents and the mouth relishes. Shiva's third eye boldly cuts across the forehead; in his shaggy hair trimly fitting the dome of the head, a sleek serpent holds his crown of matted hair, an indication of the god's asceticism, while above is the crescent moon, his symbol. The strands of hair are engraved with lines flowing in rapid waves, many rubbed off by frequent worshipful touching over the years. Stella Kramrisch, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 50.