Bhairava and Bhairavi (Standing)

This is Bhairava and Bhairavi, worshipped in the North Deccan (North Karnataka/South Maharashtra) area. Bhaitava is identified by his attributes a sword, an hour-glass shaped drum, a Trishul and a cup. The Cobra above his head reinforces the identification. Bhairavi is identified by association and by her attributes.

In the North Deccan, they are considered protective Village deities. That would account for the weapons and the benevolent appearance.

This website is lucky to have several representations of Bhairava and Bhairavi. Included some of them for comparison. Rich iconography.

In the Hindu tradition, there is another representation of Bhairva where he holds Bramha’s severed head and is accompanied by a dog. One such example is shown here.

In some cases, Khandoba is also shown with a sword, a drum, a Trishul and a cup as his attributes. Normally Khandobha rides a horse and/or is accompanied by a dog.

My reason: The book Sculpture at Vijayanagara, Iconography and Style by Anna L Dallapiccola and Anila Verghese has several in-situ examples, all from Hampi, identified as Bhairava and Bhairavi.

This is one of the cases where attribute-based identification does not give a unique result. Rich iconography (Again).

The vigraha is about 9 cm in height and it is from North Deccan. This may not be earlier than the nineteenth century.


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