Mukhalinga with Serpent Head

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Size (WxDxH): 5.7 x 5.2 x 9.2 inches
Medium: Brass
Origin: Maharashtra


This is a Deccan, cast brass, mukhalinga from Maharashtra. The mukhalinga is a covering or mask used to give a face or iconic form to the abstract Shivalingam. The face allowed worshippers to both see and be seen by Shiva and would have been placed over the linga. On the top of the head is a small linga and yoni, and, very unusually, above this is a detachable snake’s (cobra) hood protecting the linga. Above the hood is a decorative lotus bud finial. This piece 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 Shiva.