The tall, gracious Ardhanarishvara is a blend of the strength of Lord Shiva and the beauty of Devi Parvati. While He stands for purusha, She stands for prakrti. According to Sankhyadarshan, purusha is the energy principle represented by the masculine and prakrti the feminine principle represented by the feminine. The confluence of the two leads to the creative projection (srsthi) of the existential matrix (drshyam). Ardhanarishvara, which translates to the half-woman ishvara, is a powerful image of this divine life-giving confluence.
Zoom in on each aspect of the deity to appreciate the finesse and attention to detail with which it has been iconised. The gracious proportions of the half-male-half-female body, the asymmetric congruence of their roopa, and the high-precision musculature of the limbs and the torso down to the long, finely carved digits. The handsome straight-cut features of that sharp face and the templetop-like crown on the deity’s head are hallmarks of the signature Swamimalai bronze.
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