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South Indian Wood Stele Carving
Shiva
4 Armed In protective Gesture
Circa: early 20th Century
H.11 in.(30.5cm.) x W.7 in.(13cm.) x D.2 in.(5cm.)
Condition: very good

A wall shrine in rustic style, depicting the god Shiva with two prayerful devotees, the god standing in tribhanga posture with weight on the right leg and the front left hand holding a club while the right is raised in abhaya mudra, a protective and reassuring gesture. The two rear arms hold attributes, the right one possibly tipped with a trident. The hair is high and braided with full locks falling at the back. The figure wears the sacrificial cord, breastband, necklace, bracelets and anklets. The direct and simple carving of this work is the source of its appeal; the large doe eyes and subtly smiling mouths convey gentleness and warmth, and the central figure in its childlike innocence possesses great charm, particularly when well lit, as the background drops away and deep shadows heighten the numinous presence in the work.

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