Bhikshatana Shiva

This is a late 11th century Chola granite sculpture of Bhairava or Bhikshatana standing with a dog. The four-armed deity carries a trishula (trident) and kapala (skull cup) in his lower two hands while a damaru (drum) and a snake in the upper two. The hair of this deity is matted and tied up while the flame-like locks adorn a crescent moon. The image of Shiva as Bhairava is totally naked and as a mendicant he is seen begging for food from the rishipatnis, wives of the seers. The dog is an animal associated with Bhairava because of its nature of scavenging human flesh.

Date/Period
Late 11th century
Region
Chola, Tamil Nadu, south India
Dimension
Object size: H108.5 x W59.0 x D20.5 cm
Accession No.
2000-03945
Material
Granite
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Credit Line
Purchased with funds from Singapore Reinsurance Corporation Ltd and India International Insurance Pte Ltd
Category
Sculpture