Overall: 83.8 cm (33 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1973.73
Shiva wears the crescent moon as a hair ornament.
The innermost sanctum of a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva is called a womb chamber in which a stylized phallus called a linga is installed. Together, the chamber and linga represent the potentiality of creation. Artists depict the first stage of creation by a face emerging from the phallus, which embodies one aspect of Shiva. This face is of a powerful yogi, with long matted locks adorned with a crescent moon. He has a penetrating gaze with all three of his eyes. This icon would have been accessed primarily by Brahmin priests who would perform rituals honoring Shiva as the ultimate creator of the world.
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