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Ganesha, the Lord of Ganas

Ganesha, the Lord of Ganas
Ganesha, the Lord of Ganas
South India, Tanjore
Chola period, late 12th century
Gift of Mr. Michael De Havenon

Vigorous, dwarfish Ganesha, attendant of the Hindu god Shiva, carries a battleaxe (symbol of power) and a noose in his upper hands and a broken tusk in his lower right hand. With his trunk he is enjoying sweets. He wears a crown of lotus and a jeweled headband, and flowers decorate his shoulders. A stomach band restrains his belly. The four-stranded “sacred thread” around his torso is tied in a bow above the left nipple. A jeweled girdle secures his lower garment called a dhoti.

The two upright spikes attached to the base are meant to carry an aureole (a full-body halo) that surrounded the image, and the two lugs on each side were used to carry the figure in procession on festive occasions. Though tied to canonical religious texts that specify certain detailed ornamentation for the gods, the artist, using slight tribhanga (the posture style using three bends), has expressed grandeur through the plasticity of the figure, a characteristic of sculpture of the Chola period.

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