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Elephanta - Arddhanarishwara and the Trimurti

Elephanta - Arddhanarishwara and the Trimurti

Photographer: Sykes, D.H.

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1871

Shelfmark: Photo 969/(4)

Item number: 9694

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the sculptured panels in the cave temple of Elephanta in Maharashtra, taken by D.H. Sykes around 1871 in James Burgess' illustrated book 'The Rock-Temples of Elephanta or Gharapuri'. Inside the great Shiva temple at Elephanta, excavated in the 6th century, Kalachuri period, there are large sculpture panels depicting different aspects of Shiva. This is a view from the right of the Trimurti, the colossal triple-headed bust of Shiva; the left profile expresses the god's feminine and peaceful aspect which contrast with the fierce and masculine right profile. The majestic central face is calm and detached. The three faces symbolise the nature of the Divine, which combines and transcends all opposites. The other panel, seen in the left in the photograph, represents Ardhanarishvara, Shiva represented as half-male and half-female.

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