Parvati in art : depictions from sculpture

 

Goddess Parvati from Hinduism represents love, devotion and fertility. She is the mother goddess and is  nurturing and gentle. But she has other aspects which are depicted in her 108 names.

Her name is derived from the word parvata which means mountain in Sanskrit. She is the daughter of Himavat, king of the mountains. She is the consort of Lord Shiva. She was Sati reborn (who was Lord Shiva’s earlier wife and had perished due to a feud between her father Daksha and Lord Shiva). Parvati had to practice severe austerities before she could marry him. Their children are Ganesha and Kartikeya.

Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and Goddess Parvati together  make up Tridevi.

Along with Lord Shiva she is central to Shaivism ( a sect of Hinduism; followers of Lord Shiva) and is depicted in literature, art and sculpture all over Asia.

image001.jpg

Parvati, terracotta, Gupta period, National Museum, New Delhi,India.

By Nomu420 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30794990

image003

Goddess Parvati, Odisha, 12th century,India

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/WLA_lacma_Hindu_Goddess_Parvati_Orissa.jpg?1481481361661

image004.jpg

Goddess Parvati, Odisha, 11th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/The_Hindu_Goddess_Parvati_LACMA_M.72.1.14_%281_of_2%29.jpg

image006.jpg

Goddess Parvati, standing on Nandi, the bull with her children on her side, Java, Indonesia,14th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/Javanese_Queen_as_Parvati.jpgBy shibainu (originally posted to Flickr as MET : Asian Wing) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Goddess Parvati has many other names. Haimavathi again means , daughter of Himavan. She is also called Aparna; one who took nothing to sustain herself. She is also called Shailaja, daughter of the mountains.

She is Uma and Ambika, Shakti,Gauri,Kali,Shyama,Maheshwari, Durga, Bhairavi, Bhavani,Kamakshi,Annapurna and many others. She is Lalita in the Lalita sahsranama, where she has a thousand names.

Goddess Parvati is referred to as a beautiful maiden.She is a Goddess in many different roles and moods. She is calm and placid,or  fierce and an enemy of evil. She is fair and golden as well as dark complexioned in her many forms.

image008.jpg

Goddess Parvati, Chola bronze,13th century.

By No machine-readable author provided. QuartierLatin1968 assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Parvati is first mentioned in the.Kena upanishad as the embodiment of knowledge and the mother of the world. She reveals the supreme knowledge or Brahman to Agni, Vayu and Indra. She finds mention in the Hamsa upanishad. In the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata she is mentioned and also in the Puranas. Coins were issued depicting Uma during King Harsha’s time in ancient India.

The Shiva-Parvati theme is represented in art and sculpture in many parts of India and South Asia. Many temples are dedicated to her; with her unique name and legend associated with them. Festivals like Teej and Gauri tritiya are held during the year.

image010.jpg

Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Chola, 13th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/Parvati%2C_India%2C_Chola_dynasty%2C_13th_century%2C_bronze%2C_Honolulu_Academy_of_Arts.JPGBy Hiart (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

image012.jpg

Lord Shiva and Parvati with Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa,Ellora cave No.29, Maharashtra, India.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a5/Ellora_cave29_Shiva-Parvati-Ravana.jpg By No machine-readable author provided. QuartierLatin1968 assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL

 

image014.jpg

The marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati, ivory, 18th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/96/WLA_vanda_The_Marriage_of_Shiva_and_Parvati.jpgBy Wikipedia Loves Art participant “the_arty_facts” [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

image016

Goddess Parvati, 11th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/1_Parvati%2C_Hindu_deity_-_11th_Century_-_Indian_Art_-_Asian_Art_Museum_of_San_Francisco.jpg

image018.jpg

Lord Shiva and Parvati on Nandi, Shiva’s vehicle,11th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/Nswag%2C_india%2C_shiva_e_parvati_sul_toro_nandi_%28vrishabhavahana%29%2C_XI_sec..JPGI, Sailko [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

     Goddess Parvati is the ideal wife and mother. In the concept of Ardhanarishwara an ideal visualisation of a couple is depicted as half man and half woman. Each is complementing the other; one being Shiva and the other Parvati.

image020.jpg

Ardhnarishwara, red mottled sandstone, Mathura, 2nd-3rd century.

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e4/The_Androgynous_Form_of_Shiva_and_Parvati_%28Ardhanarishvara%29_LACMA_M.85.213.2.jpgSee page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

References

 

  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporewala and Sons.

 

  • wikipedia.org

 

 

 

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Soma Ghosh

 

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About historyreads

Book lover, art history buff !
This entry was posted in art history, asian art, hinduism, Parvati and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Parvati in art : depictions from sculpture

  1. Vinod says:

    Very beautiful write up on the goddess of knowing, perception and enlightenment…brilliant images have added to the richness of the post.

    Liked by 1 person

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