The Pandyan dynasty was an ancient Tamil dynasty of South India, one of the three Tamil dynasties, the other two being the Chola and the Chera. The kings of the three dynasties were referred to as the three crowned kings of Tamilakan.
Shiva is one of Hiduism’s most powerful and charismatic deities. He builds up great reserves of energy through the practice of yoga and then uses that energy to propel the cosmos. This sculpture shows the god as Chandrashekhara, meaning “having the moon as a crown”. His battle-axe and the small antelope emphasize his role as protector, especially of the animal kingdom. The lower two arms gesture of reassurance and teaching. The figure wears a hair piled high in the Chignon of matted locks and pinned with a crescent moon and a praying figure. His curling locks draping over his shoulders and the back. He wears jewelry typical of Chola period sculpture, including hand-shaped armlets, a tight dhoti, and various collars and belts. The axe is missing its blade due to damage or casting problems it has been polished. The figure stands on a lotus and square base.
South Indian, Tamila Nadu
Pandyan dynasty, first half of the 17th century
Dimensions: 10″ x 9 1/2″ x 34″ Height overall