Description The face of the Hindu god Shiva emerges from this "linga," the “sign” or emblem through which he is most commonly worshiped. Most lingas are non-figural in form, their abstracted phallic shape alluding to Shiva’s transcendent power and generative energy. Here, Shiva is also represented in anthropomorphic form, manifesting himself to devotees. The crescent moon that adorns his elaborately arranged dreadlocks may be interpreted as a symbol of time, which is marked by the moon’s waxing and waning. Shiva’s third eye, placed vertically in his forehead, is both a symbol of his all-seeing wisdom and the source of the fire of destruction, through which he annihilates then regenerates the cosmos.
- Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong. 2001-2003.
Provenance Subhash Kapoor, Temple Art, New York City; purchased by John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, 1983; given to Walters Art Museum, 2003.
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2003
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