Collections: Asian Art: Shiva as Chandrashekhara

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Double Pegasus, one of four, from the Coney Island High Pressure Pumping Station, 2301 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn

These sleek modernist versions of Pegasus, the flying horse of classical mythology, once flanked the entrances to the New York City Fire Ser...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Vase

    John Bennett was not only a leading ceramicist in the Aesthetic Movement style but a social reformer as well. With the support of his employ...

     

    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.

    close

    2007.2_front_PS2.jpg 2007.2_back_PS2.jpg 2007.2_PS2.jpg

    Shiva as Chandrashekhara

    Bronze icons made under the reign of southern India’s Chola dynasty are highly prized for their sensuous idealization of the human form. This figure of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, portrays the deity’s power through his broad shoulders, strong legs, and four lively hands. Chandrashekhara is a form of Shiva worshipped primarily in southern India; the name derives from the thin crescent moon that decorates the front of the god’s signature coiffure of matted hair. The leaping stag and the battle-ax refer to the god’s role as lord of the animals and victor over all enemies.

    We can tell that this image was used in worship because it is more worn on the front than on the back, the result of years of touching and anointing during temple rituals. Bronzes such as this one were also made for display in sacred processions: the holes in the base were used when securing the image to a litter or parade float.

    Go behind the scenes to learn how the Museum acquired this object.

    • Medium: Bronze
    • Place Made: Southern India, Tamil Nadu, India
    • Dates: ca. 970 C.E.
    • Dynasty: Chola dynasty
    • Dimensions: 25 3/4 x 12 x 7 3/4 in., 50.5 lb. (65.4 x 30.5 x 19.7 cm, 22.91kg)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Asian Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 2007.2
    • Credit Line: Gift of the Asian Art Council in honor of Amy G. Poster; additional funding from bequest of Dr. Samuel Eilenberg, by exchange; Bertram H. Schaffner Asian Art Fund; and gift of Dr. Andrew Dahl, David Ellis, Benjamin S. Faber, Martha M. Green, Dr. and Mrs. Eugene Halpert, Stanley J. Love, Anthony A. Manheim, Mabel Reiner, and Chi Tiew-lui, by exchange
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Shiva as Chandrashekhara, ca. 970 C.E. Bronze, 25 3/4 x 12 x 7 3/4 in., 50.5 lb. (65.4 x 30.5 x 19.7 cm, 22.91kg). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Asian Art Council in honor of Amy G. Poster; additional funding from bequest of Dr. Samuel Eilenberg, by exchange; Bertram H. Schaffner Asian Art Fund; and gift of Dr. Andrew Dahl, David Ellis, Benjamin S. Faber, Martha M. Green, Dr. and Mrs. Eugene Halpert, Stanley J. Love, Anthony A. Manheim, Mabel Reiner, and Chi Tiew-lui, by exchange , 2007.2. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: front, 2007.2_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
    • Catalogue Description: Bronze icon of the Hindu god Shiva in his form as Chandrashekhara, or Lord of the Crescent Moon. The figure has four arms, the upper two holding a battle axe and a prancing deer, the lower two making gestures of reassurance and teaching. The figure wears his hair piled high in the chignon of matted locks that identifies Shiva, with curling locks draping over his shoulders in the back. A crescent moon is just visible at the front of the chignon, pointing upward. He wears jewelry typical of Chola-period sculpture, including "hand-shaped" armlets, a tight dhoti, and various collars and belts. It appears that the dhoti originally flared outward at both sides but because of damage or casting problems, the flaring elements have been removed and polished away. The figure stands on a flaring lotus base with square holes pierced through the front and back to attach the sculpture to a litter or cart for transport during temple processions. Shiva Chandrashekhara is worshipped primarily in southern India, where he is often displayed with his consort, Parvati. The straight posture of this icon suggests that it was either worshipped without a consort image (couples often lean in toward one another) or that the consort image was cast and displayed somewhat separately. The battle axe and deer make reference to an episode in which Shiva was attacked by non-believers and he caught both the weapon they threw at him and the wild stag that they sent to attack him. The deer became one of his great devotees and it represents the god's role as Lord of Animals. We can tell that this icon was worshipped because the front of the image is substantially more worn than the back. Touching and annointment are important elements of Hindu icon worship, and clearly this image was touched often at some point in its history. Bronze icons were made for display and worship on shrine altars inside temples but were often displayed during temple processions as well, and were occasionally transported to different temple buildings on special occasions. Bronze casting reached an apex in India in the tenth century under the patronage of the Chola dynasty of Tamil Nadu. Although masterful bronzes were made in this area for several centuries thereafter, those made in the tenth century are particularly prized for their balance of organic and ornamental qualities.
    • Record Completeness: Best (87%)
    advanced 107,936 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."


    Recent Comments
    08:41 02/14/2011
    One comes to stillness...one's mind may leap like the stag...one's thoughts may come and go like the moon...and before me, before me who is Master Yogi, before the palm that I raise before you, there may you find stillness, there may your mind come to see silence - that which is beyond all form and thought...



    Please review the comment guidelines before posting.

    Before you comment...

    We get a lot of comments, so before you post yours, check to see if your issue is addressed by one of the questions below. Click on a question to see our answer:

    Why are some objects not on view?

    The Museum’s permanent collections are very large and only a fraction of these can be on exhibition at any given time. Sometimes works are lent to other museums for special exhibitions; sometimes they are in the conservation laboratory for study or maintenance. Certain types of objects, such as watercolors, textiles, and photographs, are sensitive to light and begin to fade if they are exposed for too long, so their exhibition time is limited. Finally, as large as the Museum is, there is not enough room to display everything in the collections. In order to present our best works, collections are rotated periodically.

    How do I find out how much an object in the Brooklyn Museum collections is worth?

    The Museum does not disclose the monetary values of objects in its collections.

    Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

    The Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

    I own a similar object. Can you tell me more about it?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you own and as much information about it as you can, and we will provide any additional information we are able to find. Please note that research in our files is a lengthy process, and you may not have a response for some time.

    How would I go about lending or gifting a work to the Museum or seeing if the Museum is interested in purchasing a work that I own?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you would like us to consider, as well as all of the information you have about it, and your offer will be forwarded to the appropriate curator. The Brooklyn Museum collections are very rich, and we have many works that are not currently on exhibition; because of this, and because storage space is limited, we are very selective about adding works. However, the collection has become what it is today through the generosity of the public, and we continue to be grateful for this generosity, which can still lead to exciting new acquisitions.

    How can I get a reproduction of a work in your collection?

    Please see the Museum’s information on Image Services.

    How can I show my work to someone at the Museum or be considered for an exhibition?

    Please see the Museum’s Artist Submission Guidelines.

    Why do many objects not have photographs and/or complete descriptions?

    The Museum's collection is very large, and we are constantly in the process of adding photographs and descriptions to works that do not currently have them, or replacing photographs that have deteriorated beyond use and descriptions that are minimal or out of date. This is a long and expensive process that takes time.

    How can I find a conservator or get advice on how to treat my artwork?

    Please visit the American Institute for Conservation, which has a feature on how to find a conservator.

    I have a comment or question which is not included in this list.

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.