51.5cm high with stand, 46.5 cm without
Ardhanarishvara (Sanskrit: अर्धनारीश्वर, Ardhanārīśvara), is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvati (also known as Devi, Shakti and Uma in this icon). Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. The right half is usually the male Shiva, illustrating his traditional attributes.
The earliest Ardhanarishvara images are dated to the Kushan period, starting from the first century CE. Its iconography evolved and was perfected in the Gupta era. The Puranas and various iconographic treatises write about the mythology and iconography of Ardhanarishvara. While Ardhanarishvara remains a popular iconographic form found in most Shiva temples throughout India, very few temples are dedicated to this deity.
Ardhanarishvara represents the synthesis of masculine and feminine energies of the universe (Purusha and Prakriti) and illustrates how Shakti, the female principle of God, is inseparable from (or the same as, according to some interpretations) Shiva, the male principle of God. The union of these principles is exalted as the root and womb of all creation. Another view is that Ardhanarishvara is a symbol of Shiva’s all-pervasive nature.
Shiva (/ˈʃivə/; Sanskrit: Śiva, meaning “The Auspicious One”), also known as Mahadeva (“Great God”), is one of the main deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme god within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition, and “the Destroyer” or “the Transformer” among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine.
At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. ]Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvatiand his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya, and in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts.
The main iconographical attributes of Shiva are the third eye on his forehead, the snake Vasuki around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his musical instrument. Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam.
Parvati (Devanagari: पार्वती, IAST: Pārvatī) is the Hindu goddess of love, fertility and devotion. She is the gentle and nurturing aspect of Hindu goddess Shakti. She is the mother goddess in Hinduism and has many attributes and aspects. Each of her aspects is expressed with a different name, giving her over 100 names in regional Hindu mythologies of India. Along with Lakshmi(goddess of wealth and prosperity) and Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and learning), she forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses.
Parvati is the wife of the Hindu deity Shiva – the destroyer, recycler and regenerator of universe and all life. She is the daughter of mountain king Parvat and mother Mena. Parvati is the mother of Hindu deities Ganesha and Kartikeya. Her elder sister is goddess Ganges. Some communities also believe her to be the adopted sister of Vishnu.
With Śiva, Pārvatī is a central deity in Saivism sect of Hinduism. In Hindu belief, she is the recreative energy and power of Śiva, and she is the cause of bond that connects all beings and a means of their spiritual release. In Hindu temples dedicated to her and Śiva, she is symbolically represented as argha or yoni. She is found extensively in ancient Indian literature, and her statues and iconography grace ancient and medieval era Hindu temples all over South Asia and Southeast Asia.