Lot 8
Quick Zoom

12th Century

Chola Dynasty
Tamil Nadu

Height: 19.5 in (49.5 cm)

This intricately carved and powerful bust depicts Bhairava. The jatas or matted locks of Shiva can be seen flowing upwards like a flame. Ganga, the river Goddess who is said to emanate from his hair is seen on the left hand side. A little higher up is the crescent moon. Shiva is shown wearing a two-patterned set of earrings, a makara kundala and a chakra kundala. Several necklaces can be seen adorning the neck. The crown is small and ornate. The most noteworthy feature of this sculpture is the quality of the face. It is very realistically modeled. The eyebrows have a frown befitting the subject. The eyes are bulging and powerful. The lips are shapely and very well defined. Fangs protrude from below the lips. The fine workmanship, detailing and modeling make this sculpture a fine specimen of the art of the Chola Dynasty.

The Story of Bhairava

Brahma once created a celestial being unsurpassed in beauty. But he himself was so enchanted with her that he began eyeing her lustfully. He used all his heads to eye her as she tried to move away in various directions. Finally as she moved skywards Brahma created a fifth head to gaze at her. As this was an incestuous act, it angered Shiva who chopped off Brahma's fifth head in a rage. However as Brahma is the creator, this act of Shiva amounted to Brahmicide, a great sin. To atone for this sin Shiva had to take the form of Bhairava, a wandering ascetic, and beg for alms until his sin got expiated. The iconography of Bhairava is typically four handed, with flaming locks adorning his crown. A street mongrel followed Shiva when he went begging. This dog is also shown in sculptural representations of Bhairava. A similar iconography is that of Bhikshatanamurty, wherein Shiva is shown wearing large wooden sandals.

Other similar works in: this auction  |  entire site

  Lot 8 of 24  

28-29 NOVEMBER 2012

$5,500 - 7,500

Winning Bid
(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)


Bidding is permitted in Indian rupees only. US dollar values shown, if any, are for reference.
Need help? Please check our guides on How to Bid. Auction Tips and FAQs.
Email [email protected], [email protected] Tel: (91 22) 2432 2898/2436 4113