Four-Faced Lingam (Chaturmukhalingam)

11007440-2001_001_005_Apa_ARC.tif

Title

Four-Faced Lingam (Chaturmukhalingam)

Keywords

Sculpture

Date

12th-13th Century

Context

Nepal

Medium/Dimensions

Gray schist
12 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (31.8 x 24.1 x 24.1 cm)

Object Number

2001.001.005

Description

The lingam is one of the oldest symbols of life and fertility in South Asia. While lingams were probably part of the religious lives of even the earliest peoples of the region, they came to be identified with the classical Hindu god Shiva. Shiva is a god of ambiguities and opposites: he lives a happy domestic life with his wife, the goddess Parvati, and his two sons, and he lives another life as a forest-dwelling ascetic surrounded by animals.

For a Hindu visitor to the temple, this four-faced lingam communicates the mystery of Shiva's many aspects. It would have been housed in a small enclosure in the inner sanctum of the temple, and as the residue of paint suggests, brightly decorated. His third eye is visible on all of his foreheads, and shows his ability to see in all four cosmic directions. Hindu and Buddhist iconography has co-existed for over two thousand years in Nepal, and a Nepali worshipper would see the same four-fold faces and eyes around the tops of Buddhist stupas.

Credit Line

The Ester R. Portnow Collection of Asian Art, a gift of the Nathan Rubin-Ida Ladd Family Foundation

Exhibits/Publications

MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2004 - Present

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2007.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

Yes

Citation

“Four-Faced Lingam (Chaturmukhalingam),” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 25, 2017, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/8626.

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