Ganesha (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

mid-6th century
Indian
gray quartzite or schist
Samalaji area, Southern Rajasthan or Northeast Gujarat, India
Overall: 24 × 13 × 4 1/2 in. (60.96 × 33.02 × 11.43 cm)
2001.12
The elephant-headed Ganesha is one of Hindu India’s most popular divinities. Because he has the power to create and remove obstacles, Ganesha is invoked at the beginning of all undertakings. This early representation of the deity almost surely belonged to a set of images depicting the Mother goddesses (Matrikas), who are customarily accompanied by Ganesha. Shown seated on a cushion, he holds a radish in his right hand, and his trunk reaches for a sweet from the bowl in his left. The sacred thread (worn by Hindu males after initiation into the faith) draped around his torso is formed by a cobra, and a jeweled diadem decorates his brow. Grand stylized ears frame his face and form part of his large halo.
Late Gupta period
Gift of Friends of Indian Art and Robert A. and Ruth W. Fisher Fund
Dye, Joseph M. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. London: Philipp Wilson, 2001. (cat. no. 23, pp. 115-116)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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