Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Linga Cover with Four Faces of Shiva (Caturmukhalinga)

15th century
Nepal (Kathmandu Valley)
Copper alloy
H. 5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm); W. 6 13/16 in. (17.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Anonymous Gift, 1986
Accession Number:
Not on view
Metal linga covers (kosha; literally, "sheath") have played a part in the worship of the Hindu deity Shiva since antiquity. The four faces of Shiva on this cover, each pointing toward a cardinal direction, evoke different aspects of the deity. This type of cover is sometimes described as a five-faced linga (ekhamukhalinga); the fifth face is understood rather than represented and thought to be facing skyward.
Private collection , New York (until 1986; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art of the Himalayas," December 15, 2010–December 4, 2011.

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