This sculpture depicts the terrifying, yet benevolent aspect of Lord Shiva
known as Bhairava. According to the Shiva Purana, Bhairava is the most complete form of Lord Shiva (purna-rupa), worshipped only by the truly enlightened. In this composition, cast using the centuries old lost wax process, we see the slightly smiling lord with flaming hair (jvalita-shikha), and a dog, his constant companion, behind him. Considered an unclean animal in the Indian tradition, the dog is a particularly suitable companion for a wandering beggar, supposedly a social outcast.
Bhairava here stands in the erect, frontal posture (sambhanga). The feet are adorned with simple anklets and a snake girdle surrounds his waist. The right hands hold the drum (with intertwined serpent) and trident. The left hands hold the noose and skull cup respectively.
Bhairava Images are known with two, four and six arms, these represent respectively the sattvik, rajasik and tamasik forms of the deity.