This sculpture portrays the great God Shiva in a dynamic posture. The aim of the sculptor here is to highlight Lord Shiva as an ascetic wanderer, who never stays at one place. Towards this end, the artist has depicted His left leg with a mild thrust forward, placed on a higher level, denoting ascent. This signifies that always being on the move is essential for an ascetic’s (sannayasi’s) spiritual progress.
In his two legs Lord Shiva wears the typical wooden sandals used by ascetics till this day in India, with its knob gripped between the thumb and the adjacent finger, holding the sandals in place. Around His waist is an animal hide, tied over which is a horn and two bells. On His neck are malas made of Rudraksha and skulls. Lord Shiva is also wearing large circular rustic earrings (kundalas), as also typically ethnic open-ended anklets.
This statue abounds in the characteristic iconography of Lord Shiva. These include the trident (trishula), the tiger skin below His feet, serpent with raised hood around the neck, the right hand raised in the gesture of “fear not”, vertical third eye at the center of the Shaivite tilaka on His forehead, the matted hair with long locks falling across the shoulders, the crescent moon on the head (giving Shiva the epithet of Chandrashekhara) and also the torrent of the river Ganga falling down from His hair (giving Him the epithet of Gangdhara). Lord Shiva strides majestically atop a rocky mound, signifying the mountain of Kailasha, and justifying His title of ‘Kailasha-pati’.
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