Ardhanarishvara (Composite of Shiva and Parvati)

Period: pre-Angkor period

Date: 7th–8th century

Culture: Cambodia

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: H. 29 1/2 in. (74.9 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Enid A. Haupt, 1993

Accession Number: 1993.387.4


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.