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IvoireOur website presents a unique Indian sculpture in ivory with a very special intrigue full of details that require special comments.
The sculpture is called "Shiva Parivar" (unit 4102). Shiva ("to bring happiness") in the Hindu mythology of ancient India is one of the three supreme gods (with Vishnu and Brahma) who form a divine trimurti (triad) like the Holy Trinity of Christianity. Shiva also represents the higher cosmic consciousness and static masculinity of the universe, which, together with the opposite dynamic feminine commencement (Prakriti) creates the harmony of the universe.
In ancient Indian culture, Shiva was revered as the God of Dance and often presented as a dancer. The Great Shiva is a multi-armed "dancing universe" deity, traditionally represented with a number of invariable attributes, of which our sculpture presents the most important: the trident; the cobra wrapped around the neck; the three lines on forehead; tiger skin around the hips; hand mudras; Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, son of Shiva and Parvati, etc.
The symbolic ritual gestures of Shiva's hands (so-called Wisdom) express the idea of intrepidity, the presentation of gifts and goodwill. Finally, the image of the supreme masculinity of the universe, embodied by Shiva and traditionally represented by the Lingam, a phallic symbol, is very subtly portrayed here. The very contours of the sculpture, the verticality of the composition, the shape of the elephant's tusk in which the sculpture is carved, are indirectly associated with the lingam and express masculinity. Of course, Shiva as the masculine principle of the universe in the ancient philosophy of India could not exist without his consort, or Prakriti (Shakti), who embodies the eternal female commencement.
The great work of the sculptor, with its fullness and perfection in skill, embodies these important ideas and representations of ancient India. There is no doubt that this sculpture was made before the prohibition of the ivory trade, i.e. before the 1940 International Convention, as indicated by the attribution of the sale.

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