Shiva and Parvati at Night (The Immortal Marriage)
Artist/maker unknown, India
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Shiva, who is both a yogi and a family man, holds out his left arm to caress his wife, Parvati. She has fallen asleep with her head in his lap—her posture indicates a release of inhibitions and absolute trust. Two trees arch over the couple, leaning together to increase the sense of intimacy. Flower laden creepers extend toward the holy family to represent their fertility. Shiva’s bundle containing the holy intoxicant bhang (a cannabis preparation) hangs on the branch of a nearby tree. This, together with his ash-whitened body, matted hair, and garland of skulls, is a quiet reminder of his ascetic ways.