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HOME : Asian Art : Art of Indonesia : Indonesian Basalt Sculpture of Nandi
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Indonesian Basalt Sculpture of Nandi - X.0591
Origin: Indonesia
Circa: 12 th Century AD to 18 th Century AD
Dimensions: 23.5" (59.7cm) high x 31" (78.7cm) wide
Collection: Asian
Style: Indonesian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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Nandi the bull-calf is the mount or vehicle of Lord Shiva. As Shiva’s most devoted disciple, his image is often placed directly opposite Shiva’s shrine in Hindu temples. Regularly honoured by worshippers with offerings of flowers and incense, sculptures of Nandi are often touched in the hope that devotees will be able to imitate the strength of his devotion to Shiva. It is not known when these two deities first came to be associated but there is a long history of devotion to bulls in Asia. The early civilisation of the Indus Valley in particular (c. 3000-2000 BC) clearly held the bull in high veneration- producing images in stone and terracotta. In Sanskrit Nandi means ‘joyfulness’ or ‘He who gives joy.’ This refers to the emotions experienced by the devotee in the presence of Shiva.

This basalt carving depicts a recumbent bull and may have been placed at the entrance to one of Shiva’s temples. The legs are all folded beneath the body and the animal has a wonderfully benign and peaceful expression. The ears are long but the horns are barely out. This is in accordance with Nandi iconography which refers to him as a calf. The tail is folded back against the body and the whole figure rests on an oval plinth with a lightly incised lotus leaf design. The animal is heavily adorned with a quadrangular jewel-encrusted rug across its back, a string of heavy bells around the neck and circular beads strung around its emerging horns. This is an exceptional opportunity for all serious collectors of Hindu art. (AM) - (X.0591)


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