Figure of Shiva and Parvati (Uma-Maheshvara)On display
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Figure of Shiva and Parvati (Uma-Maheshvara)
Material and technique
Dimensions23.3 x 19.3 x 11.5 cm max. (height x width x depth)
No. of items
Museum locationFirst floor | Gallery 32 | India from AD 600
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This brass image is closely related in iconography to the small stone stele illustrated as [EAOS.70]; its quality, however, is considerably greater. Umā is a proud little figure and the Nandī has real individuality. The exceptionally thin legs and the slim body of both the central figures add a touch of elegance to this sculpture. They are, moreover, admirably set off by the spare but beautifully proportioned architectural surround.
The god holds a sweet lime (mātuluṅga), one of his emblems, in his lower right hand; the attendant figures are less numerous than in [EAOS.70], Bhṛṅgi and Umā’s lion being absent. A charming touch is the épergne heaped with sweet cakes, his favourite food, which is placed near Gaṇeśa. Another such object, on the centre of the base, is missing.
While Jain brasses from Rajasthan or Gujarat of the later Hindu period almost all bear long inscriptions detailing who they were made by and where, as well as a date [see EAOS.108], inscribed Hindu images such as this one are rare at this time. Plastically, this image has escaped the trend towards excessive abstraction in geometric forms of the Jain images as seen in [EAOS.108]
Mr. M.A. Dhaky of the American Institute of Indian Studies at Rām Nagar, Varanasi, has kindly supplied a transliteration of the image’s inscription:
Saṃvat 1340 varṣe Caitra vadi 13 Guravadyeha … śrīmad … jāla śrīnnatasavapādānāma (?) … mahārājye śrī Jābālapure samtiṣṭhamāna deva śrī Cāpaleśvara melakamahotsava … bhrati // nandatā … pūjyamāna … // “In the saṃvat (year) 1340, in Caitra, the thirteenth of the dark half and on Thursday, in the great kingdom of … at the festival of the god Cāpaleśvara at Śrī Jābālapura … (rest too fragmentary).”
Jābālapura is the ancient town of Jālor, in Rajasthan, near Mt. Abu.
In: Harle, J. C., and Andrew Topsfield, Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1987)
Harle, J. C., and Andrew Topsfield, Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1987), no. 56 on p. 47, pp. 48-49, illus. p. 47