Linga Altar with Four Faces of Shiva

Nepal (Kathmandu Valley)

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 252

Shiva linga are variously represented as an unadorned pillar or with one, four, or five heads of Shiva. This linga altar has a four-faced form (chaturmukha). It is banded, likely with munja grass holy to Shiva, alluding to the taming of Shiva’s phallic energies through his supreme asceticism achieved by yogic practices (tapas). The Newari inscription states that King Bhaskaradeva gave the altar in the year Samvat 166.

Linga Altar with Four Faces of Shiva, Copper alloy, Nepal (Kathmandu Valley)

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