Ambika (Gujarat)

The identification of this Goddess as Ambika is tentative. But for sure she is a mother Goddess from the Hindu Pantheon and it is a form of Parvati. The book on Heritage of Metallic Art of Gujarat has an example of Ambika (page 235) and it is very close to the iconography of this example.

Jain Ambika is the Sasanadevata of Neminatha and this blog site has a couple of examples of Jain Ambika. But this Vigraha is from the Hindu pantheon for sure. The anionic symbols of Shiva (a Linga), Hanuman and Ganesha on the Prabhavali identify this Vigraha as a Hindu deity. I can not even imagine a Jain image with three severed heads on the pedestal as we have here.

Here Ambika is holding a sword, a lotus (possibly), a mirror and a fruit. Clockwise starting from the lower right hand. Normally Ambika’s attributes are mirror, sword and shield. Hence the tentativeness in the identification. This is one more Goddess, from the Sakta tradition, with three severed heads on the pedestal. The ‘mystery’ as to what/who the three heads represent remains unsolved. For some of the other examples with me, please see the post of Mother Goddess.

This Vigraha is from Gujarat. According to Gaurav, one of my go-to persons, the temples in Gujarat tend to have Hanuman and Ganesha on the entryway. Here we have them on either side of the prabhavali. This Vigraha probably dates to the seventeenth century or earlier. It is about 11 cm in height.

PS: The iconography of Goddesses continues to amaze me. The presence of three severed heads, a worshipper sitting on her lap, the camels on the peetha, the attributes of this Vigraha, make this Vigraha unique.

4 April 2022: Vithal Nadkarni sees this as an example of Panchyatna. “The Five deities are: 1)Rama/Vishnu as evoked by the Hanuman in one corner, and 2) Ganesha in the other corner, 3)Surya on the lintel (or maybe even in the round `Darpana’ or the mirror in the Devi”s hand. 4) The Devi Herself is the main or Istha Devata of the Panchayatana and finally 5) Shiva as seen in the Linga on the prabhavali. Additionally, there are three Mukhas on the base. And phalanx animals on the pediment that includes Ustra (Camels) and Ashva (horses) as Bali perhaps for this martial Goddess  ” Thanks to Vitalji for his comments.


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