This quite a tall brass statue in the tradition of great Chola bronzes of South represents the Ardhanarishvara, that is, half male and half female, form of Lord Shiva. The master caster has packed the right half of the statue with factors of male physiognomy and the most of Shaivite attributes and the left half with those of a woman and the attributes of Shiva's spouse Parvati.
The magnificence of caster's art lies in discovering the unity of his form in ever the most conflicting and diverse elements, the masculine and feminine, and what is more, the unity is superb and the distinction, precision, and minuteness with which he has created his contrasts as unique. He has adhered to tradition but with quite innovative strides. The feminine half representing Parvati prominently holds in one of her or his hands a large lotus, the emblem of Lakshmi, symbolizing the ultimate fusion of all female elements in her as that of the male and female elements in her lord, the Ardhanarishvara.
This phenomenal manifestation of Shiva visualizes mankind as the Rigveda had visualized it long back "what you describe to me as Male are in reality also Female . He who has the penetrating eyes of the mind discerns this truth". The existence is essentially composed of two sets of diverse elements, which Shiva as Sadashiva and Adipurusha blends in his form and represents. Everyone born is either a male or a female, the Adipurusha Shiva, the Sadashiva, the ever present benevolent One, is the total, all that is masculine and all that is feminine. West's inseparable union of male and female seen in the form of Cupid and Psyche is the unity of two in two forms. In Ardhanarishvara this unity is in one form. Vedas and other ancient texts have talked of this unity time and again and the modern scientist and psychologist is amazed at such a vide and scientific concept of Ardhanarishvara or the union of male and female as one being.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.
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