Shiva as Lord of Music
Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.144
This important stone sculpture is the earliest known representation of Shiva as Lord of Music. It once formed part of a sculptural group on the south exterior wall of a Hindu temple and was probably associated with a group of mother goddesses.
Shiva's four arms indicate his superhuman power, and the plain halo encircling his head underscores his divinity. With his lower two arms he plays a vina, a traditional Indian stringed instrument, the lower section of which has broken away. This aspect of Shiva is benevolent; he is bejeweled and smiles gently as he plays his divine music. Nevertheless, he still holds his trident, grasps a cobra in his upper left hand, and his hair is in arranged in matted dreadlocks. Thus, Shiva embodies the contradictory personalities of peaceful musician, fearsome warrior, and ascetic (yogi) who transcends the bounds of societal norms.
View a discussion of Shiva as Lord of Music by former Curator of Asian Art, Dr. Sonya Quintanilla.