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HOME : Asian Art : Art of Indonesia : Indonesian Basalt Sculpture of Nandi
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Indonesian Basalt Sculpture of Nandi - X.0577
Origin: Indonesia
Circa: 18 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 19" (48.3cm) high x 33" (83.8cm) wide
Collection: Asian
Medium: Basalt


Location: United States
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Description
Nandi the bull-calf is the mount or vehicle of Lord Shiva. As Shiva’s most devoted disciple, his image is often placed directly opposite Shiva’s shrine in Hindu temples. Regularly honoured by worshippers with offerings of flowers and incense, sculptures of Nandi are often touched in the hope that devotees will be able to imitate the strength of his devotion to Shiva. It is not known when these two deities first came to be associated but there is a long history of devotion to bulls in Asia. The early civilisation of the Indus Valley in particular (c. 3000-2000 BC) clearly held the bull in high veneration- producing images in stone and terracotta. In Sanskrit Nandi means ‘joyfulness’ or ‘He who gives joy.’ This refers to the emotions experienced by the devotee in the presence of Shiva.

The most striking feature of this sculpture is the material itself. Carved from the porous volcanic rock basalt, the surface is slightly stippled lending it a wonderful texture. Seated in a recumbent pose with his front right leg extended, the expression is peaceful and benign. Unusually Nandi is bereft of the strings of bells/ beads and other adornments that are often included in carved representations. This may be because it was hung with fresh flowers by its original owners, or perhaps the artist preferred a simpler style. This is a remarkable piece, notable for its restraint and naturalism rather than its ostentation. (AM) - (X.0577)

 

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