16th–17th century

Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art

The Hindu god Shiva is shown here in a warlike form as Virabhadra ("distinguished hero"). In the story associated with this form of Shiva, the god is angered by his father-in-law, Daksha, whi did not invite Shiva to an important religious sacrifice. He cuts off Daksha's head but later relents and restores the patriarch with a ram's head. You can see ram-headed Daksha on the lower left side of the sculpture. Shiva appears in his wrathful form as a fierce armed warrior, holding a bow and arrows and a sword and shield. Such ferocious images may have occurred in pairs, on either side of a temple door, to ward off evil.

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  • Title: Virabhadra
  • Date Created: 16th–17th century
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 61 1/4 x 27 1/2 x 13 3/8 in. (1 m 55.575 cm x 69.85 cm x 33.973 cm)
  • Type: Sculpture
  • External Link: https://www.dma.org/object/artwork/5328625/
  • Medium: Stone
  • Credit Line: Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Alvin and David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation in memory of Colonel Alvin M. Owsley, with the assistance of the Wendover Fund