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Sculptures > Hindu > Karttikeya, The Son of Lord Shiva
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Karttikeya, The Son of Lord Shiva

Karttikeya, The Son of Lord Shiva

Karttikeya, The Son of Lord Shiva

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South Indian Temple Wood Carving

34.5 inch x 22.5 inch x 7 inch
10.2 kg
Item Code:
ZAS93
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$995.00   Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
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Karttikeya, The Son of Lord Shiva

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A magnificent work of wood craft this temple wood carving, elaborately carved and brilliantly painted, represents Karttikeya, the eldest son of Shiva and the supreme commander of the army of gods. He is also known as Kumara, Skanda, Subramanya, Shanmukha and Muruga; Subramanya is used specially in South, and Muruga, meaning God, more often in Tamil Nadu. Popularly Karttikeya is venerated as Parvati’s son by Shiva. Karttikeya is a term contextual to Krittikas that were the first to see the child as soon as he emerged. Krittika is one of the twenty-seven planets and consists of a group of six stars. Later Puranas personified Krittikas as six goddesses, and sometimes as the daughters of six different kings, who were the first to find the new-born child. The moment they saw the child milk began oozing from their breasts and they all wished to feed him first. Accomplishing their wish the child grew six faces and all six Krittikas fed him in simultaneity. In North in all visual representations he is hence represented as six-faced, though as usually in South his images have a normal one face.<p>

 
Shiva’s son had his emergence for annihilating the mighty demon Taraka that with a boon from Brahma had become invincible. As is the mythological tradition, a demon by the name of Vajranga, fed up with his demonic form and nature wanted to get rid of it. With such objective in mind he entered into long penance and pleased Bramha who granted his prayer. However, when back in human form, he found his wife missing. He searched her around and found her wandering in the forest. After he heard from her how in his absence Indra, the king of gods, harassed her over and again, he re-immersed in penance and succeeded in winning from Brahma the boon of a mighty son who would defeat all gods. The boon was granted. This son was named Taraka. When just seven days old, Taraka himself resorted to penance for getting immense power. Brahma appeared in his vision and granted that he would not be killed except by someone just seven days old. Hence confident that no one could kill him Taraka, now demon Taraka or Tarakasura, began inflicting all kinds of atrocities on gods and even evicted them of Vaikuntha. When approached, Brahma revealed on gods all about his boon.<p>
 
Under a curse from Parvati all gods were childless. Hence, on Brahma’s advice they approached Shiva who deep in grief over the death of Sati, his wife, was lost in meditation. Gods nominated Kama to rouse sexual passion in Shiva’s mind. Kama succeeded but also enraged him and Shiva burnt him to ashes. On the other hand Parvati was performing penance for obtaining Shiva as her husband in which she succeeded and Shiva married her. Soon after Shiva engaged into sexual intercourse with Parvati which went on for a hundred Divya years – about a thousand human years. When gods approached Shiva he agreed to their prayer but with Parvati not able to hold his semen he asked gods who among them would hold it. Agni agreed but could not hold it for long and put it into the womb of the earth. The earth, unable to hold it, handed it over to Ganga that deposited it into a grove of reeds where it transformed into a child that Krittikas were first to find. Hearing the news all gods assembled, worshipped the new-born and nominated him as supreme commander of their army. On the seventh day from his birth the child confronted Tarakasura and his army and killed him. <p>     
 
Though different from illustrating this legendary form, or even his form as the chief battle-god of the Hindu pantheon, this wood sculpture represents Shiva’s son in a static posture. Except his four arms he has a normal anthropomorphic form – anatomy and appearance, an oval face, moderate figure height, highly balanced and proportionate body with normal build – everything according to norms in regard to divine images as laid down in the Shilpa-shashtra and early traditions. In the upper hand on the right side he is carrying thunder-bolt, and in that on the left side, a dagger with blade as saws. His normal right hand is held in ‘abhay’ – protection against every kind of fear, and the normal left, in ‘varada’ – accomplishment of the desired. Around his left hands there is his essential attribute a large spear – detached and unlike the rest of the statue. There is behind him his mount an elegantly carved and brilliantly painted peacock with pride revealing into its entire demeanour. The image has been installed on an oval seat consisting of conventionalised lotus motifs and floral medallion in front. It is laid over a plain rectangular moulding which is also the base of the ‘prabhawali’ – fire-arch. The ‘prabhawali’ is raised over beautifully designed dwarf-pillars and has a characteristic Shrimukha motif over its apex. <p>

 
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.<p>
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