Pair of Kavadi Panels

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Size: 16.75 x 1 x 30 inches each
Material: Wood and Brass
Origin: Tamil Nadu


These are extremely rare, carved wooden and brass kavadi panels from Tamil Nadu. These are used in yearly rituals, especially in the south of India to the God Murugan, also known as Kartikeya and Shanmugha (the latter meaning six-headed). Murugan is the eldest son of Shiva and Parvati, and brother of Ganesha. Murugan is also the Hindu god of war.
A kavadi is a portable wooden altar, which is carried on the shoulders (a pole is slotted between the two panels) by the devotees of Murugan during pilgrimages and processions. The kavadi ("burden") is a physical burden, the bearing of which is used by the devotee to implore Murugan for assistance.
Murugan is depicted with multiple heads in the centre on the right kavadi seated on his vahana a peacock, with a spear in his hands. On either side of him are attendants or guards with swords in their hands; and below this is a panel of three sages. On the left kavadi Murugan’s brother Ganesha, the god of new beginnings and the remover of obstacles, is carved in the centre, also with attendants and guards on either side with swords. Ganesha is seated on his vahana the mouse, and below this is a panel of three sages. Above both of them is carved a protective Kirtimukha face, and then, most unusually, brass protective cobra’s hoods. This brass element is echoed with lotus bud shaped finials on either side just above the legs. The legs of both panels have carved parakeets on the inner curves and there are also parakeets at both sides of the upper part.