A Vijayanagara bronze figure of Uma

14th/15th century, South India

Height: 35 cm, 13.8 inches

Uma (Parvati) is known as the ‘eternal wife’ of Shiva – she is his female complement and they are worshipped together. She is seated on a lotus throne with her left leg pendent and right leg in utkutika, supported by a bolster; this throne would have been attached to a bhadrapeedam (rectangular base) alongside Shiva and Skanda, their son. In Tamil Nadu, the family grouping is called Somaskanda – whereas, in Northern Indian sculptures, the group (Uma-Maheshvara) also includes their elephant-headed son, Ganesh.The voluptuous goddess holds a lotus bud in her right hand whilst the left makes the gesture of Charity and the ‘fulfilment of all wishes’, or varada mudra. She is dressed in an ankle-length dhoti and adorned with earrings, necklaces, armbands, anklets and the sacred cord; her hair is piled in a tall jata-mukuta with a siraschakra lotus flower at the back of her head. The features are stylised in Vijayanagara fashion – her eyes wide open and looking straight ahead.

Similar Examples

Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum’ Volume I: Art from the Indian Subcontinent, by Pratapaditya Pal, published by Yale University Press in association with The Norton Simon Art Foundation – pages 222 – 224.

The Divine Bronzes, Thanjavur Art Gallery, Tamilnadu, by S. Rathnasabapathy B.A., – pages 111 -115.

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