Uma Maheshwara (Is it?)


Sarabeshwara (maybe)It is Umamaheshwara till you decide otherwise.

Siva is holding battle axe and antelope in the rear hands. Typical attributes of Siva. The goddess, Uma, is holding a lotus in her left hand and her right hand is holding Siva by his shoulders. And not by his hips. Siva’s right hand is in Abhaya mudra (protection) and there is a five hooded snake providing protective cover. The deities are sitting on an hourglass-shaped pedestal. Both the deities are wearing full-length garments.

Siva is sitting in lalitasana and Uma’s legs are pendant.Sarabheshwara back

Nothing unusual till you notice Siva’s mouth. Tongue sticking out, mouth wide open and teeth showing, A threatening posture. One of the characteristic features of Narasimha. But here the face is human. Now notice Siva’s left hand cupping Uma’s breast. Such intimacy is not displayed in South Indian bronzes. All other features crown, Siva’s attributes, Nagahood are typically South Indian and it may be from Deccan/Mysore as opposed to Tamil Nadu.

Some of the senior collectors I correspond with (SM and DB) suggested this may be a form of Sarabheswara. Another body of experts suggested that the artist may have taken liberties with iconography, but it is Umamaheshwara.

Sarabheswara’s iconography (Eight legs, three eyes, long nails, hands and face of a lion) as documented by y T A G Rao and H K Sastri is not what we see here. Sarabheswara came into being, to tame Narasimha after he killed Hiranyakasipu.

It is quite possible this bronze is meant to be a benevolent form of Sarabeshwara.

For now, I am leaving it as Umamaheshwara pending further research/information.

The bronze is about 17.5 cm in height, quite substantial for it to be a whimsical product. The material, spurning and find-spot suggests this is from Deccan region, possibly North Karnataka. There are signs of use and has some wear. This may not be earlier than the 19th century.



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