Ardhanarishvara (Composite of Shiva and Parvati)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 245

Shiva can be depicted as half male and half female to indicate the shakta-shakti relationship of the unified whole. The male half is unmoving but is given a manifest existence through the active female presence (prakrti). Ardhanarishvara images are quite literal in their illustration of this unity; the female part (the figure's proper left side) shows Parvati's elegant hairstyle, breast, broad hip, and long skirt, while the male half has Shiva's part mustache, matted hair, broad chest, slim hip, and third eye.

Ardhanarishvara (Composite of Shiva and Parvati), Bronze, Cambodia

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