Chaturmukha lingam

In Shaiva mythology, Shiva’s multiple forms are represented as four or five heads on a lingam, an iconography known as chaturmkha lingam or panchamukha lingam. In this sculpture, the central face represents Sadyojata as Mahadeva (benign); the right face, Aghora as Bhairava, and the left, Vamadeva as Uma, Shiva’s consort. The fourth face is broken, while the fifth, facing upwards, is not portrayed as it is believed to be invisible, as is often the case with this sort of lingam. The concept of pancha mukha (five faces) is an invocation to the five elements of earth, wind, fire, water and ether.

Date/Period
5th century
Region
Gupta, Madhya Pradesh, India
Dimension
Object size: H:45.0 x Dia:34.0
Accession No.
1997-02977
Material
Terracotta
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Category
Sculpture

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