Nritya Lal Datta

Not on view

Shiva is seen here with five heads and four arms, seated on a throne. He holds a different musical instrument in each of his hand—the sitar, damru, a side blown trumpet and cymbals. Set in a curtained frame, with two glass lanterns hanging from the ceiling, Shiva is seated on a four legged traditional stool and backed by a bolster cushion, and beneath this open pavilion is seated his calf-bull, his vahana or divine vehicle. This highly stylized image of Shiva has the hooded snake around his multiple heads, each displaying a third eye on each of the forehead, and is adorned with jewelry. Fine hatching has been used to depict the tiger’s skin skirt worn by Shiva.

This is a rare woodblock print impression to have survived from the mid-nineteenth century. Another impression of this extremely rare and early print is in the Museum of Folk and Tribal Art in Gurgaon, Delhi. Woodblock printing technology was quickly abandoned in the production of Hindu devotional prints with the arrival of chromo-lithographic off-set printing in the third quarter of the 19th century.

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