Lord Pashupatinath is seated in lalitasana on a piece of silken fabric on the back of Nandi. The animal is richly adorned, all the way from the horns through the neck to the hooves, which befits its status as Shiva-vahana. A sharply sculpted, taurine face is turned to the viewer with a gaze full of unshakeable bhakti (unconditional love, for Lord Shiva in any of His roopas). On its head rests one of the chaturbhujadhari (four-armed) Lord’s posterior arms and in the other is the image of a pashu (animal) subject.
The most striking aspects of this composition are the ones that establish it in the style of South Indian temple architecture. A wide pedestal embossed with elongated lotus petals, with a floral chakra at the centre. A characteristically layered aureole. The imposing kirtiumkham at its zenith, signifying the predominance of kala or cyclical time. Note the miniscule lingam emerging from the surface of the pedestal into the belly of Nandi.