Umamaheshwara

Despite the prevalence of Saivism, it is difficult to get classical vigrahas of Umamaheshwara. Here is one. Standing at 14 cm height, it commands devotion and respect.

For a detailed discussion on Umamaheshwara please refer to this blog.

Siva is holding Ankush and Mirga (Elephant goad and antelope) in his backhands. His front right hand is in Abhaya mudra (Protection) and his front left hand is holding Parvati.

Here Umamaheshwara is sitting on a Padmapeetha which in turn is supported by a Bhdrapeetam. A typical feature of Tamil Nadu bronzes. There is some wear, more noticeable on Shiva’s face.

One of the unusual features of this Vigraha is the crown, it is kind of cylindrical with tiers near the top. The patina gets attention and almost everyone with who I had shared the photos liked the patina. Note the crescent moon on the crown, Shiva’s right side.

In the North Indian (as in North of Vindhyas) there is more intimacy in Umamaheshwara’s portrayal, with Shiva’s left hand caressing Parvati’s breast. Such is not the case with South Indian depictions.

Another unusual aspect is the absence of Utsav Vigrahas of Umamaheshwara in South India. Most of the depictions I have come across were made for personal/home worship and, occasionally, relief sculptures on temple pillars/walls.

This Vigraha has a bit of history. One of the previous owners, a prominent dealer from the UK, had suggested this may be dated to the 17th century. Though I think it is a later vigraha, do not mind the dealer’s estimate.

Sharing my passion

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