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As Vishapaharana, Shiva saved the entire universe by consuming the deadly Kaalkoota Visham (poison) that was the first to surface from Sagara Manthana (Churning of the Ocean - a Puranic event) and it seemed the entire creation could be annihilated with its burning fumes.
The devas (gods) and asuras (demons) that were involved in Sagara Manthana beseeched Shiva for protection. The compassionate Shiva then gathered the poison, which came to just filling up his palm, and consumed it. He however didn’t let it pass beyond his throat.
This sculpture of Vishapaharan Murti arrests the moment when Shiva is ready to consume poison that he holds as a ball in his lower right hand. He holds a snake in his lower left hand indicative of Shiva’s immunity to poison.
He smiles pleasantly sitting in Sukhasana (comfortable pose) and adorned with beautiful jewelry. He wears his hair as Jatamakuta (hair fashioned as crown) and male and female earrings in his right and left ears respectively, which represent his completeness.
Shiva holds Parashu (axe) and Mriga (deer) in his upper right and left hands respectively.
Seated on a solid, square pedestal this form of Shiva looks awesome. And so does the intricate carving on his crown and other jewelry.
This is very high quality South Indian bronze sculpture work.