A statement standing Ardhanrishvara murti, housed within a close-carved Kirtimukham aureole. Made from brass and infused with a world of detail, this work of art is a fine example of iconographical perfection and an aesthetic collectible. With the faces turned outwards stand the simha (lion) on Parvati’s side and Nandi, the bull, on Shiva’s.
These are not the only pashu (animals) prevalent in this Ardhanarishvara composition. A sahs of entwined snakes’ bodies descends from the hip of Shiva. One raises its hood right next to His face, balanced on the wide-set shoulder. In the posterior hand of Parvati are the coils of another. From the serrations on these snakes’ bodies to the spots on Shiva’s tigerskin loincloth, the sculptor allows no scope for detail to remain unexploited.
The composite aspects aside, the overall aesthetic is one of balance and beauty, which has to do with more than the concept of purusha-prakrti-sammelana. For example, Shiva’s shoulder and Parvati’s hip jutting laterally outwards. The hand of Parvati and the sash of snakes. The musculature of Shiva’s naked foreleg and the voluminous hems of Parvati.
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