Historical period(s)
15th century
H x W x D: 68.5 x 39.4 x 35.2 cm (26 15/16 x 15 1/2 x 13 7/8 in) Weight: 76.7 kg
India, Tamil Nadu state
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Sculpture


Hinduism, India, Shiva

?-no later than 1972
William H. Wolff, Inc., New York, NY method of acquisition unknown [1]

From at least 1972-1987
Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), purchased from William H. Wolff, Inc. [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler [3]

[1] See photograph in object file with “WM. H. WOLFF INC.” stamp with annotation noting the stock number “02/664A” on verso. The photograph is undated. See also Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Gift Inventory, number 72.11.1, which cites “WW 02/664A” as a dealer number, copy in object file.

[2] See Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Gift Inventory, number 72.11.1. In 1972, Arthur M. Sackler loaned the sculpture to the Brooklyn Museum, where the museum assigned it the loan number of “L72.11.1.”

[3] Pursuant to the agreement between Arthur M. Sackler and the Smithsonian Institution, dated July 28, 1982, legal title of the donated objects was transferred to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on September 11, 1987.

Research Completed October 18, 2022

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

William H. Wolff, Inc. 1906-1991
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987


In this solemn image, Shiva, seated in a posture of ease, promises protection with his upraised front hand. Shiva’s matted locks, which indicate that he is an ascetic, are arranged in an elaborate crown. His third eye represents his omniscience, and his direct gaze confers grace on his devotees.

In South India, artists created bronze images specifically for processions. On festival days, the bronzes were adorned with fine silks, jewelry, and flower garlands that had been given as gifts by devotees. Temple attendants carried the ornamented gods around temple and township to give blessings to everyone.

Published References
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 29, p. 66.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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