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Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Hindu deity Ganesha c. 1200 - 1300

India; Karnataka state
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco,
Ganesha is a remover of obstacles, and the worshiper who honors him before any undertaking—including the worship of other gods—is ensured success. Crowned and bejeweled, as befitting his status as one of India's most beloved gods, Ganesha is represented grasping objects frequently associated with him: a battle axe, a lotus, a bowl of favorite sweets, and the broken tusk Ganesha sacrificed to pen the great hindu epic The Mahabharata. Ganesha’s trunk bears evidence of multiple rubbings by devotees to ensure good fortune.
Ganesha's elephant head, like his multiple arms, is a mark of his divine nature, and various myths explain how he acquired it. The most popular recounts how the goddess Parvati desired a child and single–handedly created Ganesha. Her husband, the god Shiva, mistakenly beheaded Ganesha but restored him to life by replacing his human head with that of an elephant. Elephants carry complex symbolism in the Indian cultural world. Because they are thought to resemble rain clouds in color and shape, they have long been associated with fertility and prosperity.