Shiva, Uma, and Their Son Skanda (Somaskandamurti)
Chola period (880–1279)
early 11th century
India (Tamil Nadu)
H. 29 7/8 in. (53 cm); W. 21 7/8 in. (55.6 cm); D. 10 1/4 in. (26.2 cm)
Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, in honor of Cynthia Hazen and Leon B. Polsky, 1982
Somaskandamurti is one of the most popular religious images in South India. The four-armed Shiva holds a battle-ax and a deer in his upper hands and a citron in his lower left hand. His lower right hand is raised in abhayamudra (the gesture that allays fear). His consort, Parvati, holds a water lily in her right hand. Between them stands Skanda, their infant son, bejeweled and holding a lotus in his right hand. Four rings at the lower corners of the pedestal allowed the sculpture to be secured to a platform in order to be carried in processions. This sculpture would have had a halo, which has not survived.