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Shiva Gajasamhara - Rare Bronze Sculpture

Product Code: MA-0000001 Category: Chola Bronze

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Description: Gajasamhara Murti is one of the fierce forms of Hindu god Shiva, the Destroyer, shown s...Read more
  • Shiva
  • 3.50 Kgs
  • 11.00 inches
  • 6.50 inches
  • 3.50 inches
  • Bronze
  • India
  • Madhuchishtavidhana

> The statue is created using Madhucchishtavidhana (Lost-Wax-Cast method). Since the wax model of the statue is destroyed within the making process, every statue made with this method is unique. No copy of such pieces can be made ever.

> The green patina on the statue is not natural. It was applied to the piece for aesthetic reasons. You may easily remove it with a brass cleaning agent commercially available. The cleaned statue will however get natural green patina over time due to oxidation.


Gajasamhara Murti is one of the fierce forms of Hindu god Shiva, the Destroyer, shown slaying Gajasura (the elephant-demon). This form of Shiva is also called Gajantaka (Slayer of the elephant) or Krittivasa (the one who wears skin as garment) or Matangari (the Enemy of the elephant).

These epithets of Shiva are mentioned in Shri Rudra Chamakam, a Vedic hymn for Rudra, an aspect of Shiva. Devotional hymns of Tevaram refer to Shiva as wearer of elephant hide. The Shiva Sahasranama includes as epithet Gajaha for Shiva that alludes to this incident.

The story of Gajasurasamhara is narrated in Kurma Purana when describing the Krittivaseshvara Linga of Varanasi. A few pious brahmins were worshipping Shivalinga when a Rakshasa (demon) terrorised them in the form of an elephant. An enraged Shiva emerged from the linga, slew the elephant and flayed its skin, wearing it as an garment on his upper body.

This incident has been a popular subject in Pallava and Chola art that depict Shiva dancing vigorously against a backdrop of flayed hide of Gajasura.

The main temple of Gajasurasamhara Shiva is at Valuvur (Vazhuvur) in Tamil Nadu. The main deity is an eight-armed bronze statue of Shiva in the form of Gajasurasamhara. Valuvur is also one of the eight temple-sites where the deity is Shiva in one of his heroic manifestations.

Gajasurasamhara form of hindu god Shiva is the theme of this small bronze statue.

It is an unusual form of Shiva, sculpted as per the iconographical treatise Amshumadbhedagama. Gajasamhara is shown dancing inside the skin of the slain elephant, which is arranged like a prabhamandala (aureole) around him.

He wears jatamakuta (matted hair crown) with a jatamandala (braided hair spreading from the head forming a circle around it).  Within the matted and radiating hair He bears a skull, crescent moon and a dhatura flower.

His face is fearsome with round, rolling eyes and protruding fangs.

Shiva seems to be wrapping himself with elephant's skin, his right leg placed on the still connected elephant head while the left leg is bent and raised above the right thigh in utkutikasana posture. He is seen wearing a tiger skin around his loins.

He is depicted with eight arms, with two of which he holds the already torn apart skin of Gajasura.

In His six arms (anticlockwise from left) he holds a damaru (hourglass drum), khadga (sword), trishula (trident), kapala (top part of skull used as begging bowl), khetaka (shield) and bhujanga (snake).

The dwarfish figures on either side of Gajasamhara, with protruding bellies are two of Shiva's gana (retinue). They are four armed.  Each is shown clanking cymbals with two hands and other two are raised in vismaya (wondering in awe) at Shiva’s form.

This bronze sculpture is an exceptionally fine example of Chola bronze sculpture art.                               

It is indeed rare to find a Gajasamhara bronze statue, created with Lost Wax Cast  method that accommodates this level of details in this small a size.


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