12. Vinadhara Umamahesvara
Nepal, Malla Kingdoms 15th century
Bronze, cast in the lost wax method
Height 16.5 cm
In his Vinadhara form, the great Hindu god Shiva is ‘the holder of the lute’ (vina) and ‘lord of music’; Umamahesvara describes Shiva in an affectionate mode. The eighteen-armed Shiva plays the lute to his consort Parvati, perched on his left knee, illustrating the perfect union of male and female qualities, the divine paradigm of human love.
Both gods have adopted the rajalalitasana or posture of royal ease. They are crowned and wear a profusion of jewellery, and are clad in a close-fitting folded dhoti with finely engraved patterns. Each has a vertical urna on the forehead, and Shiva’s head is encircled by a flaming nimbus. Among the attributes in Shiva’s eighteen hands are a kapala, sankha, vajra, gada, churi, ghanta, cakra, parasu, and pasa. Shiva’s three eyes represent the sun, moon and fire, the three sources of light that illuminate the earth, the sphere of space and the sky.
The sophisticated casting of this superbly modelled bronze exemplifies the skills of the Newari master metalworkers around the middle of the Malla kingdoms period. The characteristic style and detailing is comparable to dated pieces of the fifteenth century.
This rare and striking image of Umamahesvara is a great example of Nepalese art. The human and lively expression of the couple is enhanced by confident positions, creating a sense of organic rhythm and dynamic force. The harmonious balance, the fine features, and superb movements augment the tenderness of the couple’s relationship and manifest their physical and emotional inseparability.
Spink & Son Ltd, England.
Collection Mr C. Rochell, USA, 2007.
Collection Mr Ch. Labhart Barker, Switzerland, 2007-2016.
C. Rochell, Sacred and Sublime. Art from India and Southeast Asia, New York, 2007, fig. 47.
P. Pal, Nepal. Where the Gods are Young, New York, 1975, p. 91 and p. 127, fig. 60.