Catalogue no. 6 LARGE SANDSTONE HEAD OF BHAIRAVA
WESTERN OR CENTRAL INDIA
H. 37 CMS, 14 ½ INS
A large, dramatic and powerfully sculpted reddish-brown sandstone head of the Hindu god Bhairava (the fierce manifestation of Shiva), with protruding fangs, wide-open eyes and demonic gaze, the forehead with a large ovoid urna, the piled up hair adorned with a crescent moon and secured by a diadem decorated with skulls.
The Shaivite tradition within Hinduism celebrates Shiva as the Supreme Being. In Shaivism, Bhairava is the fierce manifestation of Shiva associated with annihilation.
For a closely related and complete figure of Bhairava in the Museum für Indische Kunst, Berlin see cat. no. 46 in S. Doshi (ed.), Treasures of Indian Art: Germany’s Tribute to India’s Cultural Heritage, New Delhi: National Museum, 1998.
Provenance: Private collection, UK. Acquired in the 1970s.