Sadashiva (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

11th-12th century
copper alloy
present-day India or Pakistan, Orissa or Bengal
Overall: 9 7/8 × 5 1/8 × 3 3/8 in. (25.08 × 13.02 × 8.57 cm)
This exquisitely detailed bronze shows the Hindu god Shiva in his supreme manifest form known as Sadashiva. Shiva is transcendental and formless, but since his subtle, all-pervading nature cannot be comprehended by average mortals, it is necessary to show him in tangible form. Images like this are attempts to convey visually the godhead's universal omnipotence. Seated in meditation on a lotus pedestal, Sadashiva is shown with ten arms, eight of which hold attributes. Surrounding him is an impressive areole fringed with flowery flames and crowned by a masklike demon face. His bull mount, Nandi, sits on the sculpture's base.
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund
Dye, Joseph M. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. London: Philipp Wilson, 2001. (cat. no. 34, p. 132)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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