- Other Titles
- The five-faced Mahadev
Siva or Punchanan the Destroyer of the world
A five-faced Shiva
- Alternative title
- Place where the work was made
- Media categories
- Painting , Watercolour
- Materials used
- watercolour with silver paint on paper
- 43.8 x 27.2 cm (irreg.)
- Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
- Purchased 1959
- Not on display
- Accession number
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Images such as this are known as Kalighat paintings, after the famous Kalighat temple in Kolkata (Calcutta) dedicated to Kali, the fearsome goddess of time and death. From around 1830, distinctive, quickly painted souvenirs were produced in large numbers for visitors who flocked to the temple. The images were intended to aid domestic worship and typically illustrate Hindu deities. Later, mass-produced prints replaced Kalighat paintings.
Here, the Hindu god Shiva appears as Panchanan the Destroyer of Worlds. As with other Kalighat paintings, the composition is based on an archetype where the blue-skinned, five-headed, four-armed god is seated on a throne with a tiger skin wrapped around his waist. His fifth head is turned upwards and is surrounded by protective cobras and a small image of Shiva’s vehicle, Nandi the bull, can be seen seated in his lap.
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Unknown, David Jones Gallery 1959, David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, Jul 1959–Jul 1959
Indian Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Apr 2001–11 Jun 2001
Indian Folk Paintings and Textiles, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 29 May 2004–04 Jul 2004
Correspondence, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Sep 2022–2024
Referenced in 6 publications
Kate Brittlebank, TAASA Review, 'Unexpected Connections: An Australian Kalighat Album Reunited', pg. 4-5, Sydney, Mar 2006.
Kate Brittlebank, TAASA Review, "Postscript: Kalighat's Missionaries', pg. 23, Sydney, Jun 2006.
Kate Brittlebank, Journal of the History of Collections, 'Anthropology, fine art and missionaries: The Berndt Kalighat album rediscovered', pg.127-142, Oxford, May 2008.
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Folk Paintings and Souvenir Pictures', Sydney, 2003, 48-49 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 49 is a detail of this work.
Haema Sivanesan, Indian painting, 'Indian Painting', verso of poster., Sydney, 2001. cat.no. 5.2
Jill Sykes, Look, 'Artworks from India under the British Raj...', pg.30, Sydney, Jul 2010, 30 (colour illus.).
Lucy Thompson, 1890-1951, Adelaide/South Australia/Australia, purchased in Kolkata between 1890 and 1913.
Hans Heysen, pre 1953, Hahndorf/South Australia/Australia
Stefan Heysen, Jun 1959, Hahndorf/South Australia/Australia, by descent
David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, 24 Jul 1959, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 July 1959
Other works by Kalighat style
See all 9 works