Hindu mythology recounts how Parvati was sent to Shiva as a prospective wife. However, she was unable to win his attention because he was absorbed in meditation. After many unsuccessful attempts to attract him, Parvati decided to practice Shiva's asceticism, and while she meditated on a mountain peak, Shiva finally realized that he loved her. When Parvati came down from the mountain they married. Eventually Shiva and Parvati became the parents of two children, the warrior god Karttikeya (Skanda) and the elephant-headed Ganesha.
Parvati is often portrayed as a caring and kind-hearted mother and is often depicted alongside her husband, though she is sometimes worshipped as an independent deity.
This image was created in South India (in what is now the modern state Tamil Nadu) during the Chola period (880-1279), an era of great Hindu piety in that region. The Chola rulers were particularly devoted to Shiva, especially in his role as "Lord of the Dance" (Shiva Nataraja), and they built great temples in his honor. Parvati is commonly shown alongside Shiva in this role because she witnessed him performing his heavenly dance, and so she is often depicted as one of his attendants in imagery related to this story.
to look at this work
Parvati is represented here as follows:
Images of Parvati in this form were often placed to the left side of Shiva in his form as "Lord of the Dance." Though Parvati is often worshipped as an individual deity, temples dedicated solely to the goddess are rare, and so most images of Parvati come from temples devoted to her husband.
this object was made
| Slideshow | Looking
at Art | Lesson Plans |
Other Resources | About the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection |
Arts Education Programs at Asia Society | Credits | © Copyright 2002 Asia Society