Mukhalinga on Horse

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Size (WxDxH): 4.5 x 2.7 x 8.5 inches
Medium: Brass
Origin: North Karnataka


This is an extremely unusual Deccan, cast brass, mukhalinga on a horse. The horse is adorned with engraved textiles, saddles, and richly decorated harness fittings. On his back, atop a round pedestal sits the mukhalinga. A mukhalinga is a covering used to give a face or iconic form to the abstract Shiva lingam, but sometimes it is the idol itself. This is a depiction of one of the forms of Shiva, the moustached warrior Vīrabhadra, also known as Veerabadhra, Veerabathira or Veerabathiran, who is a fierce and fearsome form of the God Shiva. The third eye in the center of his forehead is the symbol of Shiva’s destructive force. Above this is a multi-headed hood of a cobra (snake) protecting the idol. On either side of the hood are S shapes, which depict the natural markings of the cobra. On top of the hood, corresponding to each snake's head, are decorative lotus bud finials, though there is wearing to those on the right. On either side of the mukhalinga are looped lugs - this may have been for a prabhavali that is now lost.