The Cholas formed one of three ruling families in Tamil-speaking south India during the first two centuries CE. In the mid-ninth century the family came to dominate the region, building an empire that would last more than four hundred years. The Chola period is also known for its sculptures and bronzes. Among the existing specimens in the various museums of the world and in the temples of South India there are figures of Shiva in various forms, Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi, Shiva saints and many more.
|India, Tamil Nadu; Chola period (880-1279), 11th century|
|H. 21 1/4 in. (54 cm); W. 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm)|
|Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art|
Ganesha, the son of Parvati and Shiva, is one of the most popular gods of the Hindu pantheon. He is worshipped as the god of good luck and remover of obstacles. Ganesha’s elephant head is the result of a quarrel between Shiva and Parvati. Angered by Ganesha’s refusal at Parvati’s request to let him see his wife while she was bathing, Shiva cut off Ganesha’s head. In order to soothe Parvati, who was devastated with grief, Shiva agreed to replace Ganesha’s head with that of the first creature he saw, which happened to be an elephant. The body of ganesha is very different from the muscular body types of shiva and vishnu, the sculpture has all the characteristics a ganesha idol , the large round belly, the elephant head and four hands. The stance of the ganesha is relaxed, and you can also see the ornamentation that has been done on the headgear and the body of the ganesha