Dynasty : Chola, Tamil Nadu
Period : Late Medieval 1100 CE
Material : Stone
Location : National Museum
Current Location : National Museum
The mythology connected with this type of Shaiva image, a combination of the god’s human as well as his columnar form (he is also called sthanu), relates how Brahma and Vishnu were at one time disputing their individual claims for the creation of the universe. Shiva suddenly appeared before them in the form of a blazing column of fire. Brahma and Vishnu tried respectively to find its top and bottom, but they failed. Brahma, however falsely asserted that he had succeeded in his effort, for which Shiva cursed him never to have a cult of his own. Vishnu confessed his inability to find the bottom of the column; Shiva, who had in meanwhile become manifest in it, blessed him to have his own sect almost equal in importance to that of himself. This theme undoubtedly revealing a sectarian bias was very much popular with the Indian artists of the early and late medieval periods. An image of Lingodhbhava Shiva made in granite stone. Here, four-armed Shiva has emerged from the linga. He holds a battle-axe and an antelope in the upper hands. Vishnu symbolised by the varaha is shown in front and Brahma represented by a swan is seen on the top right side.