Ardhanarishvara (The Lord as Half-Woman)
Shiva bilaterally joins with his wife Parvati to represent the unification of opposites

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Bikaner, Rajasthan, India, Asia

c. 1725

Opaque watercolor with gold on paper

Sheet: 8 7/8 × 5 5/8 inches (22.5 × 14.3 cm) Mount: 11 3/4 × 8 9/16 inches (29.8 × 21.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

* Gallery 227, Asian Art, second floor (Wood Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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The god Shiva, shown here in the form of half male and half female Ardhanarishvara, represents the perfect unity of the divine. He appears as the right side of the figure, holding his distinctive hourglass drum. His wife Parvati appears as the left, carrying their son Ganesha (the elephant-headed deity). Shiva’s devoted bull and Parvati’s lion sit nearby. The portrayal of the god and goddess as one being denotes the inseparability of male and female, and signifies the duality of the created world.

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