5423

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Unusual, Small Bronze Uma-Mahesvara Shrine

South India
circa 16th century

length: 8.5cm, height: 5.6cm, weight: 96g

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Provenance

From the estate of an English collector who acquired the bronze at the Arcade Gallery of 28 Old Bond Street, London, in June 1973.

This small, but highly detailed bronze known as a Uma-Mahesvara group, shows Shiva and Parvati seated together on a throne decorated with lotus petal detailing.

Shiva sits in lalitsana, whilst his consort sits in padmasana.

Attendants or related deities would have stood on each side of the pair, but only their feet remain on the platform.

Another identity for the deities depicted has been suggested – Rama and Sita. The lack of obvious attributes does mean that a conclusive attribution is difficult.

The bronze has much puja (ritual prayer) wear, and also remnants of red sindoor powder.

Overall, this bronze is a small treasure. Its significant age is obvious. It has a chocolate-brown patina. The detailing of the figures is fine and ample – with fine details such as jewellery and hair ornaments still being visible.

References

Bennie, D., pers. comm. August 2018.

Blurton, T.R., Hindu Art, The British Museum Press, 1992.

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