Ganesha with consorts (Ganga Jamuna)

Ganesha is possibly the most recognize deity in the Hindu Pantheon. Who would not, given his elephant head and ample belly?

This form of Ganesha with two consorts is a rarer version. The fact it is made using the Ganga Jamuna technique makes it even rarer. Incidentally, Ganga Jamuna Vigrahas are among my favorites and it is reflected in the number of such figures published in the recent past.

There are different accounts as to who the consorts are. TAG Rao in his ‘Elements of Hindu Iconography’ identifies them as Buddhi (wisdom) and Siddhi (success/abundance). Gosta Liebert in his ‘Iconographic Dictionary… identifies them as Riddhi (prosperity) and Siddhi (success).

That kind of uncertainty is there in the accounts as to Ganesha came into being. I counted at least six different stories of Ganesha’s ‘birth/creation’ in the above-mentioned book by T A G Rao. The most popular one centers around Ganesha being created by Parvathi out of the dirt on her skin and entrusting him with the job of guarding the door while she bathed. Siva tried to enter the place and was challenged by Ganesha. Siva beheaded him and later, on request from Parvathi, brought Ganesha back to life but with the head of the first living being, Siva encountered.

Interesting features to note include the Cobra is meant to hold his ample belly together and here the sculptor has made a show of it. The diminutive consorts emphasize Ganesha’s tummy.

In his rear hands, Ganesha is holding Ankush and Noose. His front hands are holding his consorts. His favorite sweet Modaka is on his trunk.

The fabrication technique is a combination of the addition of brass parts(see the tusk on his left) and an overlay of brass on copper/bronze.

This Vigraha is from North Karnataka and may be dated to the 19th century. It is about 11 cm in height.

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