Shiva, Uma, and Their Son Skanda (Somaskandamurti)
Chola period (880–1279)
early 11th century
India (Tamil Nadu)
H. 29 7/8 in. (53 cm); W. 21 7/8 in. (55.6 cm); D. 10 1/4 in. (26.2 cm)
Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, in honor of Cynthia Hazen and Leon B. Polsky, 1982
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 240
Somaskandamurti is one of the most popular religious images in South India. The four-armed Shiva holds a battle-ax and a deer in his upper hands and a citron in his lower left hand. His lower right hand is raised in abhayamudra (the gesture that allays fear). His consort, Parvati, holds a water lily in her right hand. Between them stands Skanda, their infant son, bejeweled and holding a lotus in his right hand. Four rings at the lower corners of the pedestal allowed the sculpture to be secured to a platform in order to be carried in processions. This sculpture would have had a halo, which has not survived.