Shiva enraged by Parvati's interruption of his meditation

India, Guler, Himachal Pradesh

Not on view

In this remarkable painting we see an encounter between Shiva, his eyes closed in deep meditation, and his wife Parvati, who attempts to arouse him by playing a vina as she gazes upon her lord in the hope that he might respond to her overtures. Shiva stirs, gazing with his third eye, drawn by the beauty of her playing. But his anger at being disturbed is vividly conveyed by his posture: his hands defiantly on his thighs, his arms akimbo, and his elbows sharply projecting. The artist employs a clever device to further express Shiva’s fury—he represents Shiva’s long ascetics’ hair flying skyward as if caught in a mighty gale. This detail, in what is otherwise a becalmed pastoral setting in which smoke from a bowl of smoldering embers drifts off in the opposite direction, indicates that it is Shiva’s anger that propels the braids of his hair to fly upward. This painting belongs to a long, highly refined stylistic tradition that evolved in the Punjab Hills of northern India, known as the Pahari (Hill) Schools. Numerous sub-schools have been identified in recent connoisseurship studies, placing this work in the atelier of a smaller hill state, Guler.

Shiva enraged by Parvati's interruption of his meditation, Opaque pigments and gold on paper, India, Guler, Himachal Pradesh

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