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Side view of preceding [ie. The Hindu Trinity], Caves of Elephanta

Side view of preceding [ie. The Hindu Trinity], Caves of Elephanta

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1885

Shelfmark: Photo 807/1(8)

Item number: 80718

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Trimurti in the cave temple at Elephanta in Maharashtra from the Earl of Jersey Collection: 'India. Bombay to Madras', taken by an unknown photographer in the 1880s. The rock-cut temple of Elephanta is dedicated to Shiva and was created in the mid-6th century, Kalachuri period. The north entrance leads towards the great triple-headed bust of Shiva which dominates the interior and can be seen in this view. The triple-headed bust or Trimurti represents Shiva. The left profile expresses the god's feminine and peaceful aspect which contrasts 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 panel to the right of the Trimurti represents Shiva assisting the descent of the river Ganga with Parvati observing. James Burgess wrote about Elephanta and said: ''The most striking of the sculptures is the famous colossal three-faced bust, at the back of the cave, facing the entrance...It occupies a recess ten and a half feet deep - exclusive of the pilasters in front which is about two and a half feet...".

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