Kiratamurthy (Chromolithograph)

This chromolithograph shows Siva presenting the coveted Pasupatha to Arjuna.

The Story (one version of it): Arjuna, one of Pandeva brothers (reference Mahabharata) undertook the penance to earn Pasupatha, a weapon whose deity is Siva. Accepting the penance, Siva decided to test Arjuna’s worthiness further by getting into a combat with him, in disguise. When Arjuna realized that he is combating someone superior to him he started worshipping a Linga, aniconic form of Siva. Then Siva appeared before Arjuna to present him the weapon, Pasupatha. 

Siva is identified by his Trishul, the drum and the surroundings. Mount Kailash, in Himalayas, is Siva’s abode. Arjuna is identified by the context.

This chromolithograph is 24 by 17 cm. It is from Raja Ravi Varma press. This may date to the early part of the twentieth century.

The way tiger skin is draped around Siva is possibly a western influence, reminds me of scarf rather than Angavastram, which runs across the chest like that of Arjuna’s.

A slightly different form of Kiratamurti in my bronze collection is below.


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