A sandstone head of Shiva in the form of Bhairava
Madhya Pradesh, 10th century, India
This distinctive head is the depiction of Bhairava, the wrathful aspect of the Hindu god Shiva. His ferocious mien is defined by bulging eyes, dramatically arching eyebrows and an open mouth. A third eye associated with annihilation centres above the eyebrows. He wears a tiara and heavy earrings, both adorned with grinning skulls. The flared tresses of hair around his head create a halo of flames.