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Brass Shivaâs head, like

Brass Shiva’s head, like

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Directory: New Century: Sculpture: Contemporary: Item # 1334394
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This brass statue, represents Shiva’s head installed on a circular pedestal having a look similar to 'yoni-pitha', an essential iconic component in Shiva’s linga manifestation. A Shiva’s head, so cast that it generates the feeling of being a form of ‘linga’, is not strange in Shaivite line. In Shiva’s iconography the linga-form and the form of his anthropomorphic head often alternate each other for in scriptures and Indian tradition his both forms – Linga and Ber, Linga being his formless aspect – the ante-form of all forms or an entity beyond form, and Ber, his anthropomorphic, are seen doctrinally as the aspects of One, more so the aspects of Linga – the Formless. Hence, the tradition has seen Linga more often as Mukha-linga – phallus with anthropomorphic face, having a single face or even five. The Shaivite tradition perceives Linga as Shiva’s ultimate manifestation for while an anthropomorphic form has just one face and one back, Linga is only a face, each of the four sides, as also its apex, is a face. Thus, while a Linga icon is seen as having a face, an anthropomorphic head of Shiva, as this statue, is sometimes seen as resembling a Linga form. As is obvious, in his statue of Shiva the artist has sought to represent an anthropomorphic vision of Shiva’s face, however a towering crown having graded ascendance substituting his matted hair, resembling a Vaishnava model, an element foreign to Shaivite cult, seems to have been added for imparting to the iconography of Shiva’s head linga-like dimensions. Though partially, the artist has retained the form of 'yoni-pitha' while conceiving the form of pedestal for his statue. The use of deep black paint is also meaningful. Representing abyssal darkness in which all forms dissolve it dilutes entire iconicity and shifts the eye from features to figure’s dimensions, particularly its rise. The front-facing crown’s vertical decorative band comprising flames-like motifs, twelve in number, might have been conceived as symbolising twelve ‘Jyoti-lingas’, again linking the statue with Linga iconography.

The face in the statue is taller in relation to its breadth; however, a crown taller than the face dominates it. The figure has sharp pointed nose, large eye with prominent eye-balls, though closed as in meditative trance, arched eye-brows extending across the breadth of the face, prominent cheeks, pointed chin, cute lips, a proportionate neck and broad forehead with tripunda mark and tri-netra. There enshrine on the face, besides a kind of glow and tenderness, inner contentment, intrinsic bliss and spiritual serenity. It appears to be simply wondrous how in a tough and uncompromising medium like brass the artist should have packed such tender dimensions and so much of meaningfulness.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.