Khandoba Mukhalinga

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Size: 16 x 15 x 24 inches
Material: Brass
Origin: Maharashtra


This is an exquisite brass, lost-wax, cast mukhalinga from Maharashtra, also called Khandoba. Khandoba (Martanda Bhairava, Malhari, or Malhar) is a Hindu deity worshiped as a manifestation of Shiva, mainly in the Deccan plateau of India, especially in the states of Maharashtra and North Karnataka. The name "Khandoba" comes from the words "khadga" (sword), the weapon used by Khandoba to kill the demons, and "ba" (father). "Khanderaya" means "king Khandoba". Another variant is "Khanderao", where the suffix "rao" (king) is used.
The mukhalinga is a covering or mask used to give a face or iconic form to the abstract Shiva lingam. The face allowed worshippers to both see and be seen by Shiva, and would have been placed over the linga. The beautifully cast face of Khandoba wears an unusual cap or turban with finely cast floral decorations. The mukhalinga sits on the coiled body of a snake whose multi-headed hood rises up behind protecting the linga. Above the hood, corresponding to each snake’s head, are decorative lotus bud finials.
In the lost-wax technique, the piece is first sculpted from a mixture of beeswax, oil and camphor. The figure is then coated with clay and fired in an oven so the wax melts and flows out. Melted brass is then poured into the empty clay-mould. When the metal has cooled, the mould is broken off and “lost”, making each piece one of a kind.