Lord Shiva is known to follow a fiercely yogic lifestyle. The effects of his yoga practice show up not only in his eternally youthful glowing face, but also his well-proportioned body with not a contour out of place. The artist seems to have depicted Lord Shiva in motion, what with the right leg placed in front of the left as if in movement, the mala of Rudraksha swinging on his chest and the lion skin moving in another direction.
Lord Shiva holds a tall trident in his second right hand, while the left hands hold the double drum (damaru) and the ascetic water pot (kamandalu) respectively. Instead of wearing a regular crown like other Indian deities, Shiva ties up his long hair like a crown at the top of his head. This is known in Sanskrit as Jata-Mukuta, or the crown of hair. Various serpents peek out from his pile of hair, as does the crescent moon. At the top can be seen emerging India's most sacred river Ganga.
Shiva wears the sacred thread across his left shoulder, stressing that he believes in the Vedic way of life. He wears the typical Shaivite mark (tilaka) on his forehead, at the exact center of which is situated his third eye.
Even though the whole composition is captivating, what takes away the heart is Shiva's facial expression. With lightly pursed, beautiful thin lips, and wide smiling eyes framed under arched eyebrows oozing out affection, the heart melts out in devotion towards the feet of Lord Shiva.
This sculpture is carved out of a single piece of milky-white marble from Makrana, which also supplied the stone used in building the Taj Mahal. It was made in the city of Jaipur, which has been home to talented artists since time immemorial.
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