Dattatreya – Ek Mukhi


Dattatreya Ek Mukhi

This is Dattatreya, a syncretic deity combining Brahma, Siva and Vishnu.  Dattatreya with three heads, representing the three deities, is more commonly seen. In this example, he has one face and hence the adjective, Ek Mukhi, Single-faced.


Dattatreya, in this example, is identified by the attributes of Brahma (Kamandalu – water carrier), Siva (Drum and Trishul) and Vishnu (Discuss and Conch).Dattatreya parts

There is a view among scholars one that the syncretic forms of deities were developed systematically to encourage reconciliation among followers of different cults. Govinda Bhairava, in this site, is another example of syncretic deity.

Here the deity is standing in Samapada, without any bend, on a circular lotus pedestal. He is wearing Paduka, wooden sandals. The lotus pedestal is supported by multi-level tapered Bhadrapeetha. The deity is surrounded by prabhavali with a multi-hooded serpent and Kiritimuka (victory face).

The deity is wearing an ankle length lower garment, dhoti. Except for the little exuberance shown with the side flares at the bottom of dhoti, the bronze is rather plain and is made for worship.

This is made of brass. The rear of the prabhavali has multiple loops, meant for some unknown purposes. These two features and the absence of Makara in the prabhavali suggest the bronze is from Western Deccan region. One of the well-known temples of Ek Mukhi Dattatreya is in Narayanpur, near Pune, in Deccan region.

The bronze is about 20 cm in height and may not be older than the 19th century.




Sharing my passion

%d bloggers like this: