PARVATI GODDESS WITH CHILDREN
Sculpture in pink sandstone, worked in the round and showing Parvati in the sinuous pose called tribanga, typical to Indian sculpture. She is naked and wearing chest jewellery, pearl bracelets and hoop earrings, the curly hair crowned with a finely wrought tiara. To her right is Shiva, wearing the high chignon of the ascetic, and to her left and in her arms are two children. This sculpture distinguishes itself by the smiling softness of the face and the sensual richness of the full-figured forms, beauty at the time being synonymous with abundance and fertility.
The story of Shiva and Parvati, is one of heroes who belong to a complex and epic mythology. Their characteristic resides in the ambiguity of their attitudes, which are at times ascetic, at times sensual and even sexual. Here, Parvati is depicted as an attentive spouse and a loving mother. In this form, she is called Ambikã and she is associated with one of the Sapta Mãtrika, the seven mothers of India. She is the benevolent form of the Shakti, the manifestation of divine power in feminine form, taking on the features of a mother-goddess. This pink sandstone sculpture presents Parvati not in the classical tribanga pose of India but in a swaying stance because she is holding one of her two children in her arms. She gazes lovingly at her husband Shiva, standing on her right and of a small size. They live on Mount Kailash and have had with the help of gods two sons together: Ganesh is the older, and Skanda is the smaller son. They form a pair made up of opposites, which is well represented here with a small and attentive Shiva staying before a sensual Parvati of a big size. Shanka is represented at her feet, as a chaste and elegant boy, while she holds in her arms the fat Ganesh, an incurable and invading glutton with whom she nevertheless has the most affinity. But the two brothers are inseparable and they represent the opposing aspects of their parents. Note the necklaces: Shiva and Skanda wear similar ones while Parvati and her son Ganesh wear a different style. The goddess is almost nude, adorned in jewels on her chest, pearl bracelets and hoops in her ears, the voluptuous curly hair topped by a finely-worked tiara while Shiva has his hair in the high chignon of an ascetic. This sculpture admirably evokes the sensual richness of the well-developed forms of mothers, beauty at the time being a synonym for abundance and fertility. It is a great collector’s piece.