The panchamukha-roopa is common to many deities in the Hindu pantheon. The word ‘panchamukha’ is a portmanteau of ‘pancha’, which means five, and ‘mukha’, which means face. The murti that you see on this page is of the Panchamukha Vinayaka (another name for Ganesha). Each of the five faces stands for the yogic koshas or layers of existence.
It is a murti of Vengai wood, derived from a tree believed to be endowed with mystical qualities. As such, it is used to carve images of the divine. A Ganesha of substantial proportions is seated in lalitasana on a gigantic lotus bloom. It is poised on a high plinth, the engravings on which are indicative of traditional South Indian handiwork.
The natural ochre colour of the wood medium is, in places, superimposed with pastels such as green (the dhoti) and pink (the lotus-throne) and blue (the little rat, His vahana). The ancillary arms of the dashabhujadhari panchamukha Vinayaka are in perfect symmetry. The same applies to the stance of the five trunks.
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