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A8 Parvati, 33.7cms, copper alloy, South India, probably Tamil Nadu, 18th century.

Parvati, whose name means daughter of the mountains, is the principal wife of the great Hindu god Shiva. She is the mother of Ganesh, the elephant headed remover of obstacles and god of new undertakings and of Skanda [Kartikeya or Murugan in South India].

In this elegant sculpture, Parvati is depicted standing with her body in the position of triple flexion. Her breasts are bare and she wears the sacred thread which was usually reserved for male deities. She is considered the pinnacle of beauty and divine femininity, being slender, tall and with a narrow waist. Her hair is piled high and set with jewels while small lotuses flower above each ear. She wears bracelets, armlets and an elaborately patterned skirt.

Metal depictions of Parvati in this fashion originated in Tamil Nadu during the Pallava [7-8
th centuries] and Chola [9th -13th centuries] eras and have been made with minor stylistic evolution ever since. This beautiful sculpture was made in the 18 century probably in Tamil Nadu.

The surface of the sculpture shows areas of reddish brown and green where the metal has oxidised to cuprite and malachite.
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