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Shiva and Parvati (Uma-Maheshvara)

9th century

Tamil Nadu, India

Copper alloy

H. 5 3/8 x W. 4 1/4 x D. 2 1/4 in. (13.7 x 11 x 5.7 cm)

Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.14

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This charming small bronze depicts the Hindu god Shiva with his wife Parvati sitting on his left knee, a common configuration called Uma-Maheshvara after two other names of the two gods. Shiva can be identified by the crescent moon in his headdress, by the trident encircled by a snake to his right, and by his vehicle (vahana), the bull Nandi, who kneels below his right foot. Parvati, who embraces Shiva with her right hand and holds up a mirror for him in her left hand, is identified by her lion vehicle. The kneeling female figure on the base of the statue represents either a generic devotee or the patron of this sculpture.