Govinda Bhairava (?)

Govinda BhairavaGovinda Bhairava is a syncretic form of Vishnu and Shiva. The upper hands are holding Vishnu’s attributes (Chakra and Shankha) and the lower hands are holding Shiva’s attributes (Staff and begging bowl). Ref:  South Indian images of Gods and Goddesses by H K Sastri page 151. This is probably from Maharashtra or nearby region.Govinda Bhairava back

(Note: There is a lively argument going on about the identification of this God. Suggestions include Hari Hara and Sankaranarayana. All three are syncretic forms of Siva and Vishnu. Comments are welcome)

Several examples of Govinda Bhairava may be found in British Museum in Edward Moor collection.

On the base, lower photo, we have bull, horse, its attendant,  Ram’s head, a Linga, pair of
feet (I think meant to represent Lakshmi), nine balls, a heap of balls…(Any information on what is displayed on the base is welcome).

“The heap of balls near the feet of a goat, on our left, are five in number. This may represent five major deities Vishnu, Siva, Ganesha, Shakti and Sun.This representation is common in Central India. The five stones, believed to be permeated by the five deities, are arranged in five different ways depending on the particular deity being worshipped.”  This narration is based on Monier Monier-Williams book on Religious Thought and Life in India pages 411-412

This image is about 20 cms in height and is missing the Prabhavali (Backplate). Even without Prabhavali, this is one of the largest Govinda Bhairava I have come across. The Prabhavali would have added, maybe, 5 cms to the height. Normally figures of this height are kept in temples rather than house shrines.

Govinda Bhairava closeup

5 Apr 2020: Tom Perardi, an ardent collector, pointed out the nine spherical objects in front is similar to what we see in Jain bronzes. In the case of Jain bronzes, they represent the nine planets.  Please see Suparsvanatha for an example.

 

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