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Shiva is supreme Brahman, complete in all respects. This completeness of Brahman is what is contained in Ardhanarishvara form of Shiva. Shiva as Ardhanarishvara Murti is the form that Brahma was blessed to behold before he could proceed with creation of the beings and their worlds.
Shiva as Brahman is the Purusha who manifests the worlds in unison with Parvati his Maya. Shiva and Parvati are as inseparable as sun and its light. If Shiva is word then Parvati is its meaning, if Parvati is beauty then Shiva is the one who is beautiful. Shiva and Parvati are one and this sublime fact is seen in Ardhanarishvara Murti.
Shiva as Ardhanarishvara Murti is also a famous theme after which South Indian bronze artists have created fantastic sculptures like this beautiful bronze statue. This is a wonderful example of the beauty and grace contained in the form of Ardhanarishvara Murti.
The left half of this idol is Shiva. He wears jatamakuta - hair tied up high in the shape of a crown. He is seen wearing crocodile shaped earring (makara kundala). Shiva holds a parashu (axe) in his raised hand and his lower hand is gracefully bent indicating that his elbow is resting on the back of Nandi (the bull-mount of Shiva that is assumed in the design of this idol). He wears a tiger-skin loin cloth.
The right half is Parvati. She too wears crown shaped hair. Her arm is raised and hand is curled delicately.
A captivating smile adorns the face of Ardhanarishvara.
This well balanced, charming statue rests on a lotus base.