67.0 x 40.0 x 35.0cm
The most common account of how Ganesha obtained his elephant head relates to the occasion when Ganesha, then a handsome youth created by Parvati from the slough of her skin, was decapitated by Shiva's hordes ('gana') when Ganesha, on Parvati's instructions, barred Shiva from entering her apartment. To appease Parvati's anger at the loss of her son, Shiva sent out his followers with instructions to sever the head of the first living creature they encountered which was an elephant. Ganesha has become one of the most popular of the Hindu gods. In this image, his corpulent body sits on a double lotus throne with the soles of his human feet touching. This pose, unknown in India, is unique to Java and Cambodia. The snake coiled around the sacred thread across his chest, the elaborate headdress with a crescent moon and a skull, as well as the vertical third eye in the centre of his forehead, all indicate his close association with the Hindu god Shiva. Of his four arms, his front right hand holds his broken tusk; his front left hand (now missing) would have held a bowl full of rice, sweets or jewels, while his two posterior hands would have held an axe and a fly whisk.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 301.
Ewen McDonald (Australia) (Editor), The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, Sydney, 1994, 186 (colour illus.).
'South-East Asian Art', pg. 83-96., Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales 1990, 1990, 87 (illus.).
'The myth of Ganesha' by Judith White, pg. 17., Look May 1999, May 1999, 17 (colour illus.).
Bruce James (Australia) (Author), Edmund Capon (England; Australia, b.1940) (Director), Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Domain, 1999, 301 (colour illus.).
Annabel Davie (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, Domain, 1988, 90, 91 (illus.).
'Network for Asia' by Bronwyn Watson, pg. 20-21., Look Apr 2001, Apr 2001, 21 (colour illus.).
Look Dec 2003-Jan 2004, Dec 2003-Jan 2004, 9 (colour illus.).
The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales 2003, 2003, 11 (colour illus.).
Adventures in Asia. An education kit for the Asian gallery 2003, 2003, 15 (colour illus.). card no.15
Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2004 2004, 2004, 17 (colour illus.).